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Kerala: 1 Killed in Rain-Related Incident, Rainfall Decreases After Hitting Normal Life

The incessant rain in several districts have damaged around 30 houses and different crops, including paddy, banana, tapioca and tubers in 800 hectares.
Commuters wade across a water-logged street surrounding the Ernakulam city after monsoon rainfall, in Kochi on Monday, July 16, 2018.

Commuters wade across a water-logged street surrounding the Ernakulam city after monsoon rainfall, in Kochi on Monday, July 16, 2018. Image Courtesy: PTI

The low-pressure area over southwest of Jharkhand and the cyclonic circulation over central Maharashtra brought moderate to heavy rains to Kerala. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had issued orange and yellow alerts to the four southern districts till October 5. The IMD has also predicted a reduction in rainfall from October 7.

Normal life was affected in Thiruvananthapuram and some taluks in Alappuzha and Kottayam taluks owing to heavy downpour, with rain holidays announced on October 4. The state has received 88.2 mm rain between October 1 and 5, against the normal average of 48.6 mm, an excess of 82%.

The incessant rains have affected crops in around 800 hectares (ha) between September 25 and October 3, with Alappuzha district accounting for the highest damage in 344 ha. The damaged area could increase with higher rainfall in a couple of districts on October 4. Around 4,800 farmers are affected and the damage is estimated to be Rs 13.43 crore. 

Typically, the Southwest Monsoon completely withdraws from Kerala on October 15, though the retreating process begins by the middle of September. 

The monsoon was relatively weak over Kerala, since making a delayed onset over the state on June 8. Several parts of the state witnessed heatwave-like conditions during the period. The last two weeks of September reduced the rain deficit by a huge margin while the first five days of October have brought 82% excess rainfall. 

Speaking to Newsclick, Rajeevan Erikkulam of the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) said that no alerts have been issued for the next five days, but rains could continue in the hilly areas. 

“Next week will be the transformation stage from the Southwest Monsoon to the Northeast Monsoon (NEM). During this period rain with lightning and thunderstorms, concentrated along the ghat regions is expected. The NEM arrives over Kerala only after October 15 usually”, he said. 

As per the data published by the IMD, all the 14 districts have received normal, excess and large excess rainfall in the first five days of October, with respect to the long period average (LPA) with Thiruvananthapuram district receiving a large excess of 276%. Pathanamthitta (124%), Alappuzha (63%), Kottayam (120%), Ernakulam (127%), Palakkad (71%), Malappuram (99%) and Kannur (138%) have registered heavy rainfall. 

Kollam, Idukki, Thrissur, Wayanad and Kozhikode districts received excess rainfall ranging between (+20% and +59%), while Kasargod received 4% higher than normal rain.

The water level in irrigation and power generation dams has increased considerably in the last seven days, bringing a much required relief to the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB). Though the water level in Idukki dam increased by 1.7 feet within 24 hours, the dam has only 42.9% of its maximum capacity. 

The rainfall has damaged crops across several districts, including Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Pathanamthitta and Thiruvananthapuram. Around 515 ha of paddy had been damaged affecting 1,059 farmers, while 90,000 banana trees were also damaged. 

Waterlogging was reported in several parts of Thiruvananthapuram owing to the heavy downpour. As amny as 23 houses were partially destroyed due to the rains which continuously battered the district since September 29. 

Kuttanad region in Alappuzha district witnessed heavy rains and damage to paddy crops and houses. Kochi city also witnessed traffic congestions and waterlogs due to the heavy rainfall. 

Three relief camps were opened in Thiruvananthapuram district where people from the low lying and waterlogged areas were shifted to. One person who went missing from Vithura in the district was found dead 4 km away from the accident spot. The district administration has warned the public to refrain from visiting beach areas for the next two days. 

The health department has sounded alert on the possibility of contaminating diseases spreading owing to the continuous rain. The health minister has instructed the hospitals to gear up the facilities to meet any emergencies, considering the possible outbreak of dengue or rabies. 

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