State on high alert as IMD warns of heavy rain

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has declared orange alert in southern and parts of central Kerala on Sunday and Monday warning of very heavy rainfall (12-20 cm in 24 hours).

Orange alert has been sounded in Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam and Idukki on Sunday and Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam and Idukki districts on Monday.

The heavy rain is due to strong westerly wind flow from Arabian Sea to South Peninsular India in lower tropospheric levels. Widespread rainfall is expected for the next five days over Kerala and Lakshadweep, said the IMD bulletin.

Soon after the alert was issued, a high-level meeting of the heads of various departments in the State was convened by the Chief Secretary at the instruction of the Chief Minister. The meeting attended by eight District Collectors reviewed the preparedness in each district where the warning was issued.

Assessing the progress of various works, including removal of silt from various rivers, the Chief Secretary directed to ensure that big pumps in Alappuzha district are operational.

It was also decided to take necessary steps to ensure the safety of the Sabarimala pilgrims. The Ernakulam District Collector said that a special control room would be set up in Kochi Corporation to monitor the floods in the city.

District and taluk control rooms in all districts will function 24×7 hours under the supervision of senior officials. The Local Self-Government department would set up a special control room as part of monsoon preparedness.

Police control rooms

State Police Chief Anil Kant has directed all District Police Chiefs (DPCs) to set up control rooms in each district to deal with emergencies. Directing the disaster management teams at all police stations to be ready for emergencies, he asked DPCs to be in constant touch with the District Collectors and the District-Level Disaster Management Committee.

All police stations have been instructed to have JCBs, boats and other life-saving equipment ready. Coastal police stations have been asked to provide security, including security boats, along the coast. Special caution is advised in areas prone to landslips.

Meanwhile, the weather bulletin issued by the IMD said the monsoon was expected to reach Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the next 48 hours. Thunderstorm with lightning accompanied by gusty wind with speed reaching 40-50 kmph is very likely to occur at isolated places in Kerala and Lakshadweep till May 18. Fishermen were also warned of squally weather with wind speed reaching 40-50 kmph over Southeast Arabian Sea off Kerala Coast and Lakshadweep area till Monday.

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