As dams fill up, Ernakulam’s rescue forces brace for impact 

Making use of the lessons learnt from 2018 flood, city leadership is ready with a plan in case water levels rise beyond control this year

Published: 19th October 2021 06:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th October 2021 06:36 AM   |  A+A-

A devotee who is out collecting contributions for the Eid Milad-un-Nabi celebrations trying to escape from the unexpected rainfall by holding the collection bucket over his head on Monday. As Eid fall

Express News Service

KOCHI: Since 2018, Malayalis have been wary of monsoons. Incessant rain, rising water levels and lack of proper drainage system are causing tension in cities this year too. Though Kochi had a relatively easier weekend as compared to the rest of the state, the disaster management officials are not ready to take any chances.

According to officials, recuse and evacuation are going to be the priority, and they are prepared to face a calamity. District fire and rescue officer Joji A S said around 875 civil defence volunteers are kept ready. They are trained in rescue operations, basic fire fighting and in combating other emergencies. Around 4,300 people have registered to be part of the force.

“There is no need to worry now, but if dam shutters are raised, then the situation might turn worse. A control room was opened in Aluva and Industries Minister P Rajeeve convened a meeting of all stakeholders to review the situation in Ernakulam. Considering the unpredictable weather, our team is ready. We’ve enough strength and equipment,” the officer said, adding that the biggest challenge they faced during the 2018 flood was the inability to evacuate people from coastal areas.

Flash floods pose a challenge
To combat flash floods, the fire and rescue team has arranged fibre boats that can enter narrow lanes for rescue operations. The fisherfolk in the district has also been taken on board.

As a precautionary measure, warnings have been issued to people living in low-lying areas like Kalady, Aluva and North Paravur. 

A disaster management team is constantly monitoring these areas. In landslide-prone areas such as Kothamangalam, Malayattur, Kalady and Perumbavoor, the revenue department is on standby to initiate evacuation. 

‘City is prepared’
According to Mayor M Anilkumar, preparing a reaction plan is the key. “Irrigation and revenue departments will jointly manage the flood and need for evacuation,” he said. All the canals were desilted ahead of the monsoon. A major part of the works of Operation Breakthrough too was completed. Rehabilitation of traders has to be completed in order to finish the Mullassery canal project. For now, it’s being pumped out to keep the water level intact.

In waterlogged areas like P&T colonies, rehabilitation is the only option, he said. Engineers from the irrigation department are also constantly monitoring the desilting of water bodies, said the mayor, who has called a meeting of Smart City, irrigation and revenue department officials on Tuesday to discuss disaster management plans. School buildings have been identified to shift residents in the affected areas.

Control room numbers

Emergency operations - 1077

 (Toll free)

Land phone - 0484 24 23513
Mobile - 94000 21077

Taluk control room numbers
Aluva - 0484 2624052
Kanayannur  - 0484 2360704
Kochi - 0484 2215559
Kothamangalam - 0485 2860468
Kunnathunad - 0484 2522224
Muvattupuzha  0485 2813773
Paravur - 0484 2972817


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