Cochin Airport announces suspension of operations till August 18

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"This is done to minimize the inconvenience to passengers and as a precautionary measure to ensure operational safety", Cochin International Airport said in a statement.

The suspension of operations at Cochin International Airport will continue till 2pm on Saturday (August 18), the airport's managing director said.

"Operations were suspended after water reached the runaway in the early hours of Wednesday".

Panic gripped the downstream areas of the Mullaiperiyar dam after the water level rose to the capacity mark of 142 ft, cutting off the State highway connecting Kottayam with Kattappana, the headquarters of Idukki district.

Twelve of 14 districts in Kerala are struggling with flooding after authorities were forced to open the gates to free excess water from 35 dangerously full reservoirs.

So far 33 dams, including Idukki-Cheruthoni dam, have been opened in the state.

A spokesperson of the airport said, "Kochi Airport operations have been temporarily suspended till Saturday 2 pm as the inflow of water is still on a rising trend".

All Air India express flights from Cochin will operate from Thiruvananthapuram, a spokesman of the national carrier said.

The Southern Railway had to suspend train services on the Thiruvananthapuram-Nagercoil route following a landslip at Eraniel and that between Kollam-Shencottah. Low lying areas are inundated, officials said.

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A government release said Vijayan also spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the grave situation the state was facing following the rains.

Heavy rains again hit Kerala on Wednesday killing four more people and taking the death toll to 43 since August 8. Many other marooned have been saved by rescuers.

Krishna Kumar, a relief official, said there will be no immediate respite for thousands of people in state-run relief camps with more rain and winds forecast until Saturday.

In Malappuram district, rains pushed up the water level in the Chaliyar river, forcing families living along its banks to shift to relief camps.

The Government has issued a red alert for Wayanad, Kozhikode, Kannur, Kasaragod, Malappuram, Palakkad, Idukki and Ernakulam districts on Thursday after the weather office warned of heavy rainfall.

According to authorities, water level in Mullaperiyar dam was 138 feet on Tuesday night.

An urgent meeting, convened by the chief minister here to evaluate the flood situation, directed officials to requisition maximum number of lifeboats from Tamil Nadu.

Governor P Sathasivam also chose to cancel the reception to be hosted by him today as part of Independence Day celebrations due to the floods in the state.

"Many parts of the nation witnessed a good monsoon but at the same time parts of India have been affected by flooding". Northern parts have seen some rainfall activity which has further aggravated the situation in the state of Kerala. "But if all of us join hands, we will be able to handle any disaster". We are working hard on draining out the storm water.

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