Rain fury devastates Kerala, Cochin International Aiport completely submerged

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"The situation is bad in many parts of the state and the number (of deaths) will likely increase", a senior official from the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority said.

"Once the water recedes, it will take us 24 hours to clean up".

The flood situation worsened in Kerala on Thursday with the public transport system virtually collapsing in many parts of central Kerala after the Southern Railways and Kochi Metro suspended their operations due to floods.

A heavy rainfall "red-alert" has been issued across much of the state, which is home to around 33 million people, the official added. "All are requested to cooperate". Telecommunication companies have also been told to maintain services despite the challenges.

Hundreds of houses have been damaged by floods, rain and landslides.

"It has been informed that water level inside the airport continues to rise and heavy rain is predicted till Saturday", said the statement. He noted that the tragedy is unparalleled in Kerala's history and the state is in "great pain".

Kochi city airport will also stay closed until Saturday afternoon. Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, Vijayan said, "Almost all dams are opened, most of our water treatment plants are submerged".

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Rescue operations by volunteers are on to help the stranded and worst affected in the floods.

Kochi airport, one of the busiest in the country, handles 42 domestic arrivals and 37 departures every day. The Kerala Chief Minister's Office said they are releasing water whenever it reaches the highest storage level.

The airport at Nedumbassery near Kochi (Cochin International Airport - CIAL) caters to a significant number of more than 3mn Malayalis living overseas. The authorities hinted that the operations may not resume as expected earlier as the Periyar continued to be in spate.

Vistara announced on Twitter that the UK883 and UK882 flights to/from Cochin have been cancelled for Wednesday, while SpiceJet has advised travellers to visit the airline website to get updated information.

In fact, due to flooding and landslips, several trains at the Thiruvananthapuram-Nagarcoil route have been cancelled. He has been living at his workplace since Wednesday while his daughter, accompanied by his sister and family, lives in a relief camp set up by members of a local political party.

The State has been seeking financial support from people across the world.

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