Sunday, May 15
Over the past two days it has rained almost continuously. I go onto the roof in one of the few dry moments to check the amount of water in the water tank. I look around the neighbourhood and take some photographs of the two houses opposite us. The owner appears to have arrived in the one on the right which now has several elderly men cleaning it ineffectually with large brushes on very long handles.
I read today that the rain has triggered an orange alert. To quote from The Hindu, “The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has declared orange alert in southern and parts of central Kerala on Sunday and Monday warning of very heavy rainfall (12-20 cm in 24 hours)”.
Orange alert has been sounded in Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam and Idukki on Sunday and Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam and Idukki districts on Monday.
The heavy rain is due to strong westerly wind flow from Arabian Sea to South Peninsular India in lower tropospheric levels. Widespread rainfall is expected for the next five days over Kerala and Lakshadweep, said the IMD bulletin.
Soon after the alert was issued, a high-level meeting of the heads of various departments in the State was convened by the Chief Secretary at the instruction of the Chief Minister. The meeting attended by eight District Collectors reviewed the preparedness in each district where the warning was issued.
Assessing the progress of various works, including removal of silt from various rivers, the Chief Secretary directed to ensure that big pumps in Alappuzha district are operational.
It was also decided to take necessary steps to ensure the safety of the Sabarimala pilgrims. The Ernakulam District Collector said that a special control room would be set up in Kochi Corporation to monitor the floods in the city.
District and taluk control rooms in all districts will function 24×7 hours under the supervision of senior officials. The Local Self-Government department would set up a special control room as part of monsoon preparedness.
So now we know.