Indian Air Force airlifts people affected by Kerala floods

Heavy monsoon rains kill 44 people in southern India, close airport

PM has promised all help. "Tens of thousands are in the relief camps", said Vijayan in his social media page.

She said the fate of the 11 missing people was not known.

The Kochi airport was shut yesterday till the afternoon of August 18. The death toll rose to 39 since Wednesday, according to local reports.

The state government said that Onam celebrations at the Kerala Raj Bhavan stand cancelled and the funds will instead for used for relief and rehabilitation of those affected by the floods.

Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts are on orange alert, asking the authorities and people to be prepared as there was a higher likelihood of bad weather.

Pathanamthitta District Collector P.B. Nooh said that a rescue operation involving 28 boats was going on and another 23 boats have reached the affected areas. A large number of interior roads were also flooded.

Unceasing torrential rains continued to batter Kerala on Wednesday killing eight more people and taking the death toll to 47 since August 8, and forcing authorities to shut down Kochi worldwide airport till Saturday after water gushed inside the airport area. Four people were killed when a mass of earth fell on a house at Erattupetta in Kottayam district on Thursday.

The shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam were opened at 2.35 a.m. after its water level crossed 140 feet. Railways have suspended operations between Ernakulam and Palakkad stretch. The flooding has submerged vast areas in 12 out of 14 districts in the state. Now, the Mullaperiyar dam upstream is almost full, and the water level is likely to top up by noon, after which authorities will have to release this water, which will flood Periyar forest reserve and other areas. For worldwide flights, this will require special dispensation which has been granted considering the emergency. "All are requested to cooperate", the spokesperson said. Now about 1,100 cusecs of water per hour is flowing from the river in the vicinity of the airport, but this is expected to increase to 1,500-1,600 cusecs per hour by Thursday.

Earlier, Kerala Chief Minster Pinarayi Vijayan called an urgent meeting at the Secretariat.

The Kochi global airport announced a shutdown till Saturday after water entered the airport area.

It later issued another advisory saying the operations have been suspended till Saturday. We are working hard to drain out the storm water.

Flooding in India's southern tourist hotspot of Kerala has killed at least 67 people and left more than 50,000 people seeking shelter in relief camps, a state official said. In the morning hours, passengers faced problems due to suspension of operations as they had already reached the airport to catch flights.

[This is] an unprecedented flood havoc. Vistara has gone a step ahead and announced special flights from Delhi and Chennai to Thiruvananthapuram-the airline doesn't fly to the airport but has introduced these temporary flights in wake of the crisis. Besides, six worldwide carriers including Gulf Air, Air Asia Berhad, Scoot and Silk Air cancelled their flights to Kochi.

Metro services in Kochi have also been temporarily suspended.

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