August 15, 2018, Channel NewsAsia
KOCHI: The death toll from the worst floods in nearly a century in the Indian tourist state of Kerala rose to 43 on Wednesday (Aug 15) as rising water stranded tens of thousands of people and forced the closure of one of its main airports.
The five latest fatalities from the rain that began a week ago came when authorities in the southern state were forced to release water from 35 dangerously full dams, sending a surge into its main river.
Hundreds of villages have been flooded and the military has been called in to help with rescues.
More than 10,000km of roads and hundreds of homes have been destroyed or damaged across the state, officials said.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office announced on Twitter that Kochi International Airport – the main gateway to the region – would be closed until Saturday “due to heavy rains and resultant flooding.”
A Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) official told AFP that the death toll was expected to rise.
A heavy rainfall “red-alert” has been issued across much of the state, which is home to around 33 million people, the official added.
“Our state is in the midst of an unprecedented flood havoc,” Vijayan said earlier this week. “The calamity has caused immeasurable misery and devastation.”
A senior official with the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority, Sekhar Lukose Kuriakose, said the seasonal rains have killed more than 200 people in the state since May and displaced many.
The state last saw such devastating flooding in 1924.
Famous for its coastline and picturesque backwaters, Kerala has become a major destination for domestic and international tourists.
The US embassy last week advised Americans to avoid Kerala, which drew more than one million foreign tourists last year, according to official data.
Kerala floods LIVE: Death toll rises to 67, Kochi Airport shut, Mullaperiyar Dam remains a concern
August 15, 2018, livemint
Kerala today shut the Kochi airport till Saturday as rains returned to wreak more havoc in the state. At least 25 people have been killed so far today, and thousands others are being evacuated from the fresh Kerala floods.
The state has opened 35 of its dams, a first in history, even as the Mullaperiyar Dam’s water levels remained a concern.
Kerala was just limping back to normalcy after the worst floods since 1924 killed 39 over the last week. So far, more than 1 lakh people have been rescued in the state.
“Kochi Airport operations temporarily suspended till 18th Saturday 2pm since the inflow of water is still on a raising trend. We are working hard to drain out the storm water,” Cochin International Airport Ltd said in a notice on its website.