KOCHI: As incessant rain continues to lash the district, people living on the banks of major rivers in the district are moving to safer areas.The Periyar and Muvattupuzha rivers have breached their banks, flooding houses in the low-lying areas.Revenue officials said the low-lying areas at Chengamanad, Nedumbassery, Choornikkara, Keezhmad and North Paravoor have been inundated. “People in low-lying areas have been urged to move to safety,” said an official.
However, it seems the residents don’t need any prodding this time.Vaishak K N, a resident, said, “The Aluva Siva temple has been inundated and water has entered many houses. However, the water has not risen as much as it did in 2018. Preparations for setting up camps are over and if the situation warrants it, relocation of people will be done promptly,” he said.But, some of the residents of highrises like Joseph K M have decided to stay on. “The water came up to just the first two levels. We will just move to the top floors and stay there,” he said.
Thomas Abraham, a resident of Chengamanad, said people have begun preparing for the worst. “They are moving household items from the ground floor to prevent floodwater from damaging them ,” he said. “They don’t want to lose their belongings yet again to flood. The water level is yet to rise, but with heavy rain in the high ranges and the threat of landslides, people are worried,” he said, adding, the water level might rise at night and people are bracing for that.
The Muvattupuzha river too has started breaching its banks. “If the rain continues to lash Idukki, water in the river will rise alarmingly,” said the Muvattupuzha tahsildar.He said 40 houses in Illahiya colony have been inundated and the residents shifted to relief camps. Manoj K V, a social activist, said only places situated in the vicinity of the river have been affected so far.Other areas, including the Kuttampuzha tribal region too have been hit. “An entire ward has been cut off completely,” said Sandhya Lalu, president, Kuttampuzha gramapanchayat.
As of now, water has not risen, she said. But the situation might change if landslides occur in the high ranges, she said. She said the ‘chappath’ or bridge connecting Manikandan Chal, ward 7 of Kuttampuzha panchayat, has been submerged cutting off the region from the mainland. “Around 13 families, including tribal families, live in this ward. To help them out, the panchayat has pressed a country boat into service. We are taking essential items and people across the river to Manikandan Chal. But since the river is swollen, the endeavour is pretty dangerous,” Sandhya said, adding that as of now, no camps have been opened in the panchayat. “This will be done if needed,” she said.
Rural police form response team
Kochi: The Ernakulam Rural Police on Friday formed Emergency Response Team to coordinate rescue operations if there is a flood. It will function round the clock and will address people’s concerns and send messages to avoid confusion. The Rural police officials said they have started shifting people from low-lying areas to safety. “If possible, people living in vulnerable places should go to their relatives’ places or shift to relief camps. All are urged to follow Covid protocol and use masks in camps too,” said District Police Chief (Rural) K Karthick. He said anyone found spreading fake news about the flood will face action. Torres trucks, canoes, boas and other have been kept ready for emergencies. The Rural police are also updating their Facebook page with information about water levels in rivers and dams.
740 people shifted to 22 relief camps
Kochi: The district administration evacuated 740 people, including those from 304 families, to nearly 22 relief camps opened in five taluks after low-lying areas in the district were inundated on Friday. The relief camps were opened in Aluva, Kochi, Kothamangalam, Muvattupuzha and Paravoor taluks. As many as 324 people, including 25 children, were shifted to eight camps opened in Paravoor, while 178 people were shifted to the six camps in Kothamangalam. Three camps each were opened in Aluva and Muvattupuzha. Two camps were opened under Kochi taluk at Chellanam after the sea level rose sharply. With the shutters of Malankara dam to be raised in the coming days, District Collector S Suhas said the situation will worsen. “We are monitoring the water level after all the shutters of Bhoothathankettu dam were raised on Friday. We are also monitoring the water level of dams in Idukki and have made all arrangements to shift people in case of any untoward situation.Those in low-lying areas should move to safer places,” said Suhas.