Rain-battered Kerala battles big menace: Flood tourism
As rains continued in Kerala, state Revenue Minister K Rajan on Wednesday (August 3) said that people should strictly avoid going to areas which are inundated or flooded as part of a growing trend of “flood tourism” and warned that police would be used to remove such people.
Rajan said there is a growing trend among people to visit areas which are flooded and try to enter the waters there or catch fish and the same should be avoided as it creates an additional burden on the authorities carrying out relief and rescue operations.
He gave the example of an elephant being stranded for hours in the Chalakudy river on Tuesday (August 2) morning, news reports of which led to a large number of people arriving at that place and creating a problem for the local authorities.
“Such activities in flooded areas would not be permitted at all and if necessary, police assistance would be sought to remove such persons,” he said. On evacuating people from disaster prone areas, he said that according to guidelines in the Orange book such people have to be mandatorily relocated.
Rajan said that the state government has taken all necessary steps, like setting up relief camps so that there is no loss of life and people can comfortably wait out the rains. He also said that there was no need to be concerned about the flood-prone low lying Kuttanad area of the state but the authorities were monitoring the situation there.
Meanwhile, as there was some decrease in the intensity of rains in certain parts of the state in the early morning hours on Wednesday, water levels in various major dams and reservoirs were holding steady or had risen only marginally at around 7 am according to data received from various districts. However, the water storage level in Idukki reservoir reached 2375.52 feet and a blue alert was sounded at 10 am.
On Tuesday, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a red alert indicating extremely high rainfall in all the districts of the state barring Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Kasaragod for August 3 and has predicted heavy rainfall in the state till August 5.
A red alert indicates heavy to extremely heavy rains of over 20 cm in 24 hours while orange alert means very heavy rains from six cm to 20 cm of rain. A yellow alert means heavy rainfall between six and 11 cm.
The heavy rains led to six deaths, one each in Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam and Ernakulam districts and three in Kannur district, resulting in a total of 12 rain-related casualties in the state from July 31 to August 2, the Kerala State Emergency Operations Center (KSEOC) had said. Besides that, three people have also gone missing from various parts of the state during the day, it had said.
In view of the heavy rainfall and anticipating landslides, flash floods and other disasters, the state government had also opened 95 relief camps across Kerala where 2,291 people have been relocated, KSEOC had said on Tuesday.
(With inputs from agencies)