Indian airport temporarily halts operations

Mullaperiyar Dam shutters opened following rise in water level

With no let up in heavy rain, the operations of the Kochi airport have been suspended till Saturday.

"Kochi Airport operations is temporarily suspended till Saturday 18, 2pm since the inflow of water is still on a raising trend".

Vijayan's office on Wednesday said that the authorities were also anxious about rising water levels in the massive Mullaperiyar dam, and urged officials in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu to release water from the reservoir.

The Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), which made a decision to suspend the arrival operations at 4 am to 7 am today as a precautionary measure, had earlier said the airport would be shut till 2 pm. We are working hard on draining out the storm water. "All are requested to co-operate".

An official statement said the state government would soon approach the civil aviation ministry to allow small flights to Kochi to land at the naval airport.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media that Kerala was passing through one of its worst times and urged the people to cooperate with the government in bringing relief to the suffering.

Earlier, the airport authorities had said that all flight operations will remain suspended till 2 pm on Wednesday. The authorities were forced to open 33 dams across Kerala.

People residing along the banks of the Periyar were alerted to the possibility of flash floods, and evacuation procedures were in place.

Weathermen have warned of heavy rains accompanied with gusty winds with speed reaching 60 kmph in all the 14 districts.

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Not only this, at least 30,000 people are still in relief camps across the state due to heavy rains lashing the state for the past week now.

People to avoid the Sabarimala hill shrine in Pathanamthitta district as the water level in the nearby rain-fed Pampa River was rising.

Though initially 13 shutters of the dam were opened early by 4.30 am, three were closed and discharge through the spillway reduced to 3,480 cusecs.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned the flood-hit state of Kerala in his address to the nation on the 72nd Independence Day.

Flood situation will be aggravated all the more over the state which will be disastrous for the state which has already seen enough.

Cochin International Airport's official website showed that several flights had been diverted, cancelled and indefinitely delayed.

The weather department has issued a red alert for Wayanad, Kozhikode, Kannur, Kasaragod, Malappuram, Palakkad, Idukki and Ernakulam districts till Thursday. "My thoughts are with families of those who lost their lives in floods".

Heavy rains have hit the state since last week. He also announced the state would not celebrate Onam in the wake of the mass destruction and loss of lives.

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