Evacuation of 5,000 persons begins as Kerala dams' level rises (Lead)

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Idukki (Kerala) : With increased water flow into the Idamalayar and Idukki dams in Kerala late Tuesday night due to incessant rains, authorities began to evacuate about 5,000 persons living in and around the two reservoirs, a police official said.

He told the media that the decision was taken after heavy rains led to rise in Mullaperiyar dam water level.

"We have already asked people to move out, especially those living between Mullaperiyar and Idukki dams. The aged and the sick are being moved by government officials," the official added.

According to authorities, water level in Mullaperiyar dam was 138 feet on Tuesday night. If its shutters are opened, the water will flow to the Idukki dam, where water level stands at 2,397.42 feet.

Rains in Idukki yet again on Tuesday increased water inflow into the Idukki dam, forcing authorities in the night to open two of the five sluices shut down on Monday.

The Idukki dam was discharging 7.50 lakh litres of water per second, causing worry to authorities as more water in the Periyar river and its tributaries could lead to flooding of parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur districts, as was seen in the past week.

Unprecedented rains and flooding -- the worst since 1924 -- have left at least 39 people dead and thousands in relief camps in Kerala. Many rued that they had lost virtually all their possessions after surging waters swept away their possessions.

Consequent to the heavy rains, 27 dams of the state had to open their shutters.

According to the state's preliminary estimates, the rains have caused loss of over Rs 8,000 crore in rain-affected districts.