20 die from landslides caused by relentless rain

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As rain continued to lash the state, officials opened the sluice gates of 24 dams on August 9, including the biggest Idukki Dam, threatening more areas with floods.

Landslides triggered by heavy monsoon rains have killed at least 19 people in southern India, cutting off road links and submerging several villages. The minister said the shutters were only opened for a few hours to release the pressure and there was no reason for panic.

As water gushed out of the Idukki dam, low lying areas in Cheruthoni including Karimban and Thadiyambad were inundated.

Two more shutters of Idukki Cheruthoni dam were opened at 7 am on Friday. He urged people to be vigilant since this will lead to a rise in the water levels of Periyar river and its tributaries. Five people were reported dead in rain-related incidents on Friday, taking the toll to 27.

Top elected state official Pinarayi Vijayan says the flood situation has become "very grim" with the opening of sluice gates of almost two dozen overflowing water reservoirs. "At least 4,000 people living in low-lying areas have been evacuated to relief camps".

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Some 20,000 people have been displaced and 260 relief camps have been set up. As per the reports, CM said that he has also spoken with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Karnataka CM H. D. Kumaraswamy and has brief them about the "grim" flood situation in the state.

Currently, Monsoon surge is active over the state of Kerala as a cyclonic circulation is seen over Southeast Arabian Sea and adjoining Lakshadweep area in the mid-levels. Sources from the disaster control room reportedly said while 10 people in Idukki, five in Malappuram, two in Kannur and one in Wayanad district died due to a landslide, three people in Wayanad, Palakkad, and Kozhikode district respectively were found missing.

People stand on the steps of Aluva Shiva Temple complex submerged in water after the opening of Idamalayar dam shutter following heavy rains, on the outskirts of Kochi, India, August 9, 2018.

The government has asked tourists not to go to high range areas and dam sites. The assurance was given by Home Minister Rajnath Singh to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan during a telephonic conversation. USA embassy has issued warning for its citizens against travelling to Kerala in view of the floods and landslides. Offered all possible assistance to those affected.

Multiple columns of Indian Army, Air Force, Navy and ten teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed across Kerala for relief and rescue operations. "As the situation is improved we are resuming all operations from 3.05 pm today", a CIAL spokesperson said on Thursday.

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