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Amidst heavy rainfall in Kerala, CM issues directions to handle imminent monsoon

Thiruvananthapuram,  With heavy rain lashing several parts of the Kerala and red alert being issued in four of its districts by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Wednesday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan issued a slew of directions to ensure the State was prepared to handle monsoon-related problems like landslides and flooding.

In a meeting held today, 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.

He 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.

Vijayan 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 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, he said and further directed steps be taken to ensure free flow of all the rivers.

This afternoon, IMD 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.

Kerala has been experiencing heavy rainfall for the past few days and it has disrupted normal life in certain places of the State.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has already deployed five teams to Kerala.

A red alert indicates heavy to extremely heavy rains of over 20 cm in 24 hours, while orange alert means very heavy rains from 6 cm to 20 cm of rain. A yellow alert means heavy rainfall between 6 to 11 cm.

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.

The IMD had earlier predicted that the southwest monsoon, which is also known as Edavapathy in the State, is likely to bring its first showers to Kerala by May 27, five days earlier than the normal onset date. PTI