Thiruvananthapuram:  After tapering off for a day, heavy downpour returned in Kerala on Thursday bringing along landslips, flooding of dams and rivers, taking the rain-related death toll from Sunday to 22.

A red alert has been sounded in eight of the 14 districts of the state, while five other districts are under an orange alert. However, the state capital district has no such alert.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has asked the people living on the banks of water bodies to be extremely cautious. They have been asked to follow the directives of the district authorities and be prepared to move to relief camps if a need arises.

"Those living in low lying areas in Thrissur and Ernakulam districts and had moved out to relief camps during the 2018 floods, should do so this time as well. Night travel should not be undertaken on the higher ranges of the state. With most of the rivers in spate, none should attempt to cross it and fishing and swimming have been banned. In vulnerable places, residents should ensure they have an emergency kit packed and kept ready," said Vijayan.

State Revenue Minister K.Rajan said that all those living on the banks of the Chalakudy river will be shifted to relief camps as it is in spate.

The famed Sabarimala temple which opens for a few days during the beginning of the Malayalam calendar has started to restrict devotees, as none will be allowed to go up to the temple located in a hillock after 3 p.m. and none will be allowed to stay in the temple precincts after 6 p.m.

State Health Minister Veena George has asked people to be cautious as it's during these times there is a spurt in contagious cases and proper medical help should be availed too.

In Ernakulam district, district collector Renu S.Raj announced that educational intuitions in the district will be closed on Thursday at 8.25 a.m but by then, children had already started to arrive in the schools.

The IMD forecast which came on Sunday had predicted the rains to subside by Thursday, but things appear to be different.—IANS



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