India – Airport Closed, 20,000 Evacuated as Floods Hit Kerala

Flooding has once again hit the southern Indian state of Kerala, almost exactly a year on from the devastating floods of August 2018 when more than 300 people died.

Flood evacuations in Kerala, August 2019 . Photo: Kerala Government

Torrential rain from 07 August, 2019 has increased river levels and caused flooding and landslides in several districts, in particular Kozhikod, Wayanad, Malappuram, Nilambur and Idukki districts. Over 20,000 people have been evacuated and are staying in relief camps. Operations at Cochin airport have been suspended until at least 11 August. Local media have reported several fatalities in the state as a result of flooding and landslides over the last 2 days.


India Meteorological Department (IMD) had issued heavy rainfall warnings for Kerala earlier this week. According to IMD figures for a 24 hour period to 08 August, the weather stations at Mananthavady recorded 260mm of rain, Vythiri 240mm and Peermade 190mm. More severe weather including heavy rain, strong winds of up to 50 km/h and waves of up to 3.7 metres has also been forecast for the state.

Rivers and Dams

River levels in at least 3 locations in the state have surpassed levels reached in the record floods of 2018.

India’s Central Water Commission (CWC) reported that the Kuttaydi river at Kuttayadi in Kozhikod district is flowing in “Extreme Flood Situation” and has reached a record high of around 8.5 metres. CWC said that the Kabini river at Muthankera in Wayanad District stood at 713.50 metres, also above it previous record high. The Valapattanam river in Kannur district has also crossed record levels set in 2018 and as of 09 August stood at over 18 metres.

Kerala’s State Disaster Management Agency (KSDMA) said that the flood gates have been opened in 12 dams across the state, including the Maniyar Dam in Pathanamthitta district where local authorities warned residents on the banks of Pampa and Kakkatar rivers to be vigilant.


Emergency teams including personnel from police, fire service, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed to affected districts, including Wayanad, Malappuram, Nilambur and Idukki.

As of 09 August, 22,165 people from 5,936 families have evacuated and are staying in 315 flood relief camps opened across the state, with 105 of them in Wayanad district.

Chief Minister of Kerala, Shri. Pinarayi Vijayan, warned residents to “stay weather aware.” He said “We strongly recommend that your communications plan include a backup means. Keep your phone charged. Follow instructions from local officials. Listen to instructions regarding evacuation or sheltering. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.”

India Monsoon Floods 2019

Parts of Kerala have already seen flooding during this monsoon season after a period of heavy rain from 18 July, 2019.

Kerala joins the long and growing list of flood-hit states in India since the start of this year’s monsoon, including Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Rajasthan, as well as Maharashtra and Karnataka where around 200,000 people have been displaced by flooding in the last few days.

Flooding recently hit the eastern state of Odisha, where around 7,000 have been displaced. Local media report that 3 people have died and 2 are missing.

Over the last 24 hour there has also been heavy rain in parts of Tamil Nadu where river levels are also rising.

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