As rains continued to lash south-central Kerala on Thursday, the state government urged people along the banks of major rivers to exercise caution and warned against the trend of ‘flood tourism’.
Revenue Minister K Rajan advised those who had already moved to relief camps not to return to their homes even if the rainfall waned in intensity temporarily.
He also warned the public against attempting adventures in rivers during the rains. “The majority of recent accident deaths reported in Kerala were from drowning. Under no cost can we allow people to do flood tourism,” said minister Rajan.
On Thursday, the Moozhiyar Police booked three youngsters who did a stunt in the Kakkad River at Seethathodu in Pathanamthitta. The youngsters were reenacting a scene from the popular Malayalam movie ‘Naran’ starring Mohanlal by jumping into the overflowing river to retrieve massive driftwood.
“The other day we also saw people crowding to see an elephant stuck in the river. It is not advisable,” said the minister.
Rajan has also appealed to those stuck in relief camps not to return to their houses until the authorities give them the green light.
“We saw people leaving the camps thinking it is alright. Of course, there is no need for concern, but it is important to take the necessary precautions,” said minister Rajan.
“For instance, people in Chalakudy were saying the water level has not increased as expected and so it is fine. But the fact is the water from Parambikulam and Thoonakkadavu takes nearly nine hours to reach here. That is about 4.5 hours till Peringalkuthu and the rest to Chalakudy. So the rise in the water level might not be visible instantly,” said the minister.
As per an update at 11 pm on Thursday, 37,902 cusecs were flowing over from Peringalkuthu into the Chalakudy River.
“On Thursday, Thrissur, Ernakulam and Idukki received the most rainfall in Kerala. Thrissur alone received 280.1mm on the day,” the minister said.
Coast Guard, Navy rescue boats on standby
A team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was stationed at Chalakudy on Thursday.
“As many as 25 dinghy boats of the Coast Guard and the Navy are on standby at Ernakulam.”
Rajan reported there was unobstructed flow in most rivers. “We were also fortunate that the sea did not reject the excess water from the water bodies,” he said.