Death toll rises to 30, over 54,000 displaced as heavy rains continue across kerela

Heavy rains continued across Kerala on Friday, forcing authorities to open all five shutters of the Cheruthoni dam in Idukki for the first time in 40 years.

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Northern and central Kerala have been battered by heavy rains of the Southwest monsoon since August 8, which has left 30 people dead. State officials said a total of 53,501 people are now housed in 439 relief camps across the state.

The flooding became more intense after all five gates of the Idukki dam were opened and shutters of more than two dozen dams were lifted, making the Periyar river swell further. The rains had already increased its flow. Almost all 40-odd rivers in the state are in spate, officials said.

Officials from the state meteorological office said that heavy rain was expected for two more days.

The Indian Navy on Friday launched Operation Madad to help people stranded in remote locations. “Besides small search vessels, helicopters were also pressed into service. The navy hospital is also ready to meet any eventuality,” the southern naval command said in a statement.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh will make an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas on Sunday. Minister of state for tourism KJ Alphons said the state was undergoing the worst flood in its history and Centre will provide all help.

Tourists were barred from entering the hilly Idukki district after roads caved in at many places. Army soldiers were building small bridges to evacuate people stranded at various places in Kozhikode and Wayanad.

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