Kerala is bracing itself to deal with the Burevi cyclone, which is expected to batter the state on Friday, with torrential rain and strong winds in seven districts falling in the southern part between Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam.
A red alert has been declared and people are being moved to safer places. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the arrangements with CM Pinarayi Vijayan on phone. The state is taking all precautions to avoid a situation similar to the devastating Ockhi cyclone, which had devastated the southern coastal areas.
The first impact of the severe cyclone is expected to be felt in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday afternoon. Indian Meteorological Department hopes that as the cyclone hits the land in areas of Tamilnadu, the intensity of winds will reduce somewhat, but they are keeping fingers crossed as no specific forecasts have been made about the speed of the wind.
The heavy rain could lead to landslides in the high range districts of Pathanamthitta, Kottayam and Idukki, with the possibility of floods. Water is being released from several dams as a precaution, without waiting for water to fill to full capacity.
People living in vulnerable houses are being asked to move out and already 13 relief camps have been set up. Control rooms have been set up in the districts with high probability of trouble. Relief operations have been further complicated due to the need to observe Covid protocol at all levels. The health department is gearing up to coordinate activities.
Pilgrimage to Sabarimala, which falls in Pathanamthitta district, has been restricted until the meteorological people give the all-clear.