At least three people drowned and more than 750 families were shifted to relief camps in the last 24 hours in the worst-hit districts in north Kerala as rains continued to lash the state, officials said on Monday.
Police said the reports of drownings came from Kottayam, Kasarkkode and Ernakulam districts, taking the death toll in flood-related incidents to eight this year.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a red alert in Kannur, Kozhikode and Wayanad on Monday and authorities shut all educational institutions in these districts. Vadakara in Kozhikode district recorded the highest rainfall of 18cm in the last 24 hours, IMD’s central regional office in Thiruvananthapuram said.
Many people living in the coastal areas in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam were shifted to safer areas.
Large-scale sea erosion was also reported from many areas as the rains intensified.
Majority of the rivers are in spate and water-starved dams swollen after four days of intense downpour in dam-catchment areas of Idukki and Wayanad.
More than 400 people were killed and millions affected last year as the southern state was hit by its worst monsoon flooding in a century. The flooding caused damage to fields, homes and other infrastructure.
The state government is keeping a close tab on the water levels in dams and the sluice gates of Pambha, Malankara and Boothathankettu reservoirs were opened after they filled up to the brim.
Experts had accused authorities of delaying till the last minute to open the gates of reservoirs aggravating the flood situation.
Last year, rains were weak in initial stages but strengthened towards the first week of August. This year too the rain deficit was 47% in the initial two months of June and July as the monsoon played hide and seek with its first stopover.
The changing pattern of monsoon is worrisome as it affects crop pattern and groundwater recharging, weathermen said.