Thiruvananthapuram, June 08: The weather department has predicted that the southwest monsoon is likely to set in over Kerala in the next 24 hours. The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority has issued red and orange alerts in different parts of the state from June 9-11.
Last year, the state in August witnessed one of its worst floods in which more than 350 people lost their lives.
A red alert, which means ‘very heavy’ to ‘extremely heavy’ rainfall, has been issued in Thrissur district on June 10 and in Ernakulam, Malappuram, and Kozhikode districts on June 11.
An orange alert, which means ‘heavy’ to ‘very heavy’ rainfall, has been issued in state capital Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Thrissur on June 9-10.
Picking up lessons from floods and cyclone Ockhi last year, the state disaster management authority has released a monsoon preparedness and disaster relief handbook. The document contains instructions for 30 departments on what needs to be done as part of the monsoon preparedness and disaster response. The incident response system, which was earlier only till the district level, has now been elevated up to the taluk level.
The IMD has also predicted squally weather with winds reaching 35-45 kmph and likely to prevail over southwest Arabian sea off the coast of Somalia, Lakshwadeep, Maldives area and Gulf of Mannar. Fishermen have been advised not to venture out to sea from June 7-11 in these areas.
A major criticism during last year’s floods was related to dam management -- at one point, the shutters of 30 dams in the state were opened in August.
According to irrigation department officials, 14 of the 16 dams in the state have formed an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and have submitted it to the Central Water Commission. With the CWC’s suggestions 4 has been finalised, the rest will be done in the next couple of days.
KSEB officials said that they have submitted the action plan for all 24 damns for which the CWC has given inundation maps; of these, 17 have been approved.
Dr KG Thara, former head of the disaster management centre, said," It is good that the EAP and rule-curve has been formed, but the community-level preparedness is what is lacking. People don’t really know what can be done at the time of a disaster."