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Heavy rain shuts schools in Indian states of Kerala and Karnataka

Ashraf Padanna, Correspondent
Schools were shut, and families shifted to camps on Thursday as heavy rains continued to lash Kerala and southern parts of Karnataka state, wreaking havoc, flooding homes and streets and causing landslides.
The district authorities have declared holidays for all educational institutions in Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Idukki, Wayanad and Dakshina Kannada districts of the southern neighbours.
However, there will be no change in previously scheduled public recruitment tests and university examinations.  The holiday is also not applicable to residential schools.
Kerala has opened 27 relief camps where 526 people from 150 affected families, including 239 women and 94 children, live, Revenue Minister K Rajan’s office said. The state government has sanctioned Rs10 million to each of the 14 districts for disaster management works.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed nine teams in Kerala’s Idukki, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Malappuram, Kollam, Kozhikode, Thrissur, and Wayanad districts.
Since April 1, after summer showers started before the onset of the southwest monsoon last month, 49 people have died in rain-related incidents like drowning, electrocution, landslides and lightning.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast heavy rainfall along the West Peninsular Coast during the next five days and increased monsoon activity over Northwest India this week.
Local authorities have cautioned travellers about the risks in hilly and flooded areas and shut roads to tourist getaways like Munnar and Ponmudi in the Western Ghats.
The IMD issued an orange alert for Kasaragod, Kannur, and Wayanad districts to be prepared against very heavy rainfall between 11 and 20 cm and a yellow alert for others except for Trivandrum to be alert.
The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority said Kannur and Kasaragod districts would likely experience heavy rain with maximum surface wind speeds of 40 kmph.
The state’s revenue ministry reported extensive damages to homes and crops in low-lying areas, primarily due to accompanying strong winds. Heavy rains lashed many parts, prompting authorities to urge people to take utmost care while travelling through hilly and inundated areas.
Revenue Minister K. Rajan said very heavy or extremely heavy rains are expected across Kerala for two more days.
In Kasaragod, two people narrowly escaped when their car fell into a river while driving through a forest on Thursday morning.  They were travelling across the Kerala-Karnataka border.

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