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Kerala: Tourist centers closed, night travel ban imposed as heavy rains trigger landslides | trip

Intense rains, accompanied by gusty winds, wreaked havoc in central and southern Kerala on Tuesday as landslides, widespread flooding and the destruction of houses forced several people to move to relief camps. Tourist centers have been closed in many districts, including Kottayam and Thiruvananthapuram, and a night travel ban has been imposed in the hilly areas of Idukki district.

Two men on a two-wheeler take shelter outside a closed shop during a heavy rainstorm in Kochi, southern state of Kerala, India. The Indian Meteorological Department has forecast an early onset of monsoon with above-average rainfall. Kerala: Tourist centers closed, night travel ban imposed as heavy rains trigger landslides (AP Photo/RS Iyer)

The landslide caused widespread destruction in Chokkallu area of ​​Bharananganam village in Kottayam. In Ernakulam district, particularly in Kochi city, extremely heavy rain continued for hours, flooding roads in many areas.

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Experts say cloudbursts could be the reason for the heavier than usual rainfall that lashed several parts of the port city of Kochi, especially the town of Kalamassery, where water entered hundreds of houses. Both Kottayam and Ernakulam districts were placed on red alert by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday.

As the weather office predicted heavy rains in the coming hours, the district administration banned tourists from visiting famous holiday destinations such as Illikkal Kallu, Ilaveezhapoonchira, Marmala stream in Kottayam and Ponmudi ecotourism center in Thiruvananthapuram. As the water level in the Meenachil river in Kottayam and Killiyar in Thiruvananthapuram steadily rose, authorities urged locals living on its banks to be extra vigilant and move to safer places if necessary.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in a Facebook post warned that the extremely heavy rains are likely to trigger hazards such as landslides, mudslides, floods, etc. He said the chances of waterlogging and flooding are high in low-lying areas and along river banks.

The CM also advised people to avoid unnecessary travel and urged them to stay in safer places. Officials said the shutters of dams like Aruvikkara and Malankara dams were opened at certain intervals. Several families were shifted to relief camps, mainly in rural and coastal areas in different districts, they said.

Southern and central districts such as Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kottayam and Ernakulam were particularly affected by the incessant rains, which caused waterlogging, damaged houses, uprooted trees and inundated small water bodies, cutting across towns and villages. Earlier in the day, many narrow streets and busy roads in Kochi city and adjoining areas were flooded due to incessant rains.

In many parts of the port city, people were unable to leave their homes because roads were flooded. Vehicles were seen moving at snail’s pace on highways after the rain. Normal life in Kakkanad Info Park, one of the IT centers of the state, and Aluva-Edappally areas were affected by waterlogging. An uprooted tree fell on a state-run KSRTC bus at Thoppumpady in Kochi.

Fortunately, the passengers were unharmed. Heavy rains caused mudslides and disrupted traffic on Erattupetta and Vagamon roads in Kottayam district. The city and rural areas of the main district of Thiruvananthapuram have been witnessing heavy rainfall since Monday evening.

In nearby Neyyattinkara, a house was severely damaged after an uprooted tree fell on it during heavy rain accompanied by wind. Nedumangad, Neyyattinkara, Kattakkada and Amboori areas, located in the high elevations of the district, received widespread rainfall.

According to locals, a portion of a hill behind the famous Bali mandapam at Papanasam in nearby Varkala collapsed due to heavy rains. High tides and rough seas were seen in coastal areas, posing a threat to fishing vessels. Two cases of boat capsizing were also reported off the coast of the fishing village of Muthalapozhi, about 30 kilometers away.

In one incident this morning, a fisherman was killed after his boat capsized due to high tides. Three others, who also fell into the sea, were rescued and rushed to a nearby hospital, police said. State Revenue Minister K Rajan said the central region of Kerala witnessed heavier rainfall, with Palluruthy region of Ernakulam district alone recording 95 mm of rain in one and a half hours, which is rare in recent times.

Kalamassery received 57 mm of rain in one and a half hours, he said. Rajan said steps have been taken to open 3,597 relief camps in the state in view of the situation arising out of the rains. Preparations are underway to set up camps that can accommodate more than five million people during emergencies, he said.

An orange alert was sounded in Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Idukki, while Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram and Kozhikode were placed under a yellow alert, according to the latest IMD update. A red warning indicates heavy to extremely heavy rainfall of over 20 cm in 24 hours, while an orange warning means very heavy rainfall of 11 cm to 20 cm, and a yellow warning means heavy rainfall between 6 cm and 11 cm.

This story was published via wire agency without modifications to the text. Only the headline has changed.

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