Thiruvananthapuram: Amid heavy rain lashing several parts of the state and red alert being issued in four of its districts, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan issued a set of directions to ensure the State has been prepared to handle monsoon-related problems like landslides and flooding.
In a meeting held on Wednesday, the Chief Minister instructed local bodies to prepare a list of disaster-prone areas in their jurisdictions and provide it to village officers, police, fire services and disaster management authorities in each district. Besides, the other instructions included setting up relief camps for evacuating people from high-risk areas, widely publicising the location and access paths to the camps, ensuring adequate facilities like food, water and sanitation there and completing all the preparation on a warfooting.
The CM directed monsoon-preparation meetings in all districts, measures for mitigating potential disasters during the rainy season be planned in advance and coordination between the various departments be ensured. He further directed that monsoon control rooms be set up in all local bodies 24 hours a day and the phone numbers of the control rooms should be accessible to the public. He further directed that pre-monsoon clean-up operations be completed by the local bodies with public participation from May 22 to May 29. The gutters should be desilted and the silt should not be deposited alongside them, the minister said, and further directed steps be taken to ensure free flow of all the rivers.
Yesterday afternoon, IMD had issued a red alert in the northern districts of Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasaragod. In the morning, the IMD issued an orange alert for seven districts, including the four as well as Thrissur, Palakkad and Malappuram. The orange alert in Thrissur, Palakkad and Malappuram continues to be in effect. An orange alert was issued also in Kannur and Kasaragod for Thursday.
The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority has predicted widespread rain for the next five days with chances of isolated thunder, lightning and strong winds due to the cyclonic circulation in and around the State as well as a low pressure trough from north of the State to Vidarbha region. The Central Meteorological Department has predicted isolated heavy and very heavy rainfall showers for the next two days and heavy rainfall two days thereafter. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has already deployed five teams to Kerala.
The State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) has asked people to stay away from rivers and other water bodies until the rains subside. The SDMA have also advised people not to travel to hilly regions unless it is an emergency and to avoid night travel until the rain subsides. The district administrations have also warned the people against staying near coastal areas of high tide.