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India travel alert: Heavy rains in Kerala may disrupt plans of UAE residents – News

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Some expats said they would change plans depending on the situation, while others disagreed


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People trudged through flooded areas to carry a sick elderly man to hospital in Thiruvalla, Kerala state. — PTI

published: Saturday, July 8, 2023 at 6:00 am

As Emirati families prepare for their annual trip back home, residents planning a trip to the southern Indian state of Kerala have expressed concern over the heavy rainfall currently affecting the state.

The monsoon has intensified in Kerala over the past few days, prompting red alert to be issued for two parts of the state on Friday.

Heavy rainfall during this period has caused severe disruption to daily life, forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes and move to relief camps. At least 40 people have been killed in rain-related incidents since July 1.

Some who travel home once a year say they change plans accordingly, while others disagree.

Reena Philip, a UAE resident who runs a travel agency, said: “If it rains heavily in Kerala, then I don’t want to go now, even though I’ve booked a ticket to Trivandrum. Urgent commitment, and my dates are very flexible. I can go later. But as a travel agent, I know families who book tickets in advance to get a discount and get them at a reasonable price. For them, it becomes a problem …but it happens every year and generally people are prepared for this situation and they think about these things. So they book flexible tickets so they can change dates or postpone in case of heavy rain A few days of travel.”

In 2018, the Cochin International Airport in Cochin was closed for several days due to the catastrophic floods that occurred that year. Airport infrastructure was damaged by the floods, with damages estimated at AED 11-12.5 million.

Even in August 2019, the airport had to suspend operations for several hours due to heavy rainfall.

“Usually airlines would rebook and make these adjustments when the airport is closed. This has happened in the past. But it also depends on which airport people are going to. If going to Thiruvananthapuram , then it shouldn’t be too much of a concern, but for people traveling to Kochi or northern Kerala, which experience heavy rainfall, those travelers might have to adjust,” she added.

Travelers Prepare for Different Scenarios

Last year, five flights from the Middle East to Calicut Airport were diverted to Cochin International Airport on August 4 due to bad weather in Kozhikode.

The India Meteorological Department has issued a red alert for Iduki and an orange alert for all areas except Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram. Yellow alert was sounded in Kollam and Trivandrum.

Mohammed Ismail, who has lived in the UAE for 18 years, said: “We will be traveling at the end of this month. Frankly, my family and I are really looking forward to meeting our relatives and experiencing the rain. But This becomes a problem in the event of flooding. This is an inconvenience not only to passengers, but also to airlines and ground handlers. Nearby hotels, restaurants and eateries remain closed, making local commuting difficult. However, we It’s going to land in Kozhikode, where there’s been a lot of rain, but relatively little. So, I’m worried and following the news, but not worried yet.”

But people like Hafif Talamar may not be able to change their plans, with the urgency heightened by his family’s expiring visas. “My parents are going to Malapuram tomorrow. I know it is raining heavily in Kerala. I will be a little worried until they arrive safely. But we don’t have much buffer as visas are about to expire. So, They need to go back now, unless we are really forced to change the schedule because of extreme circumstances. But for the Malayan diaspora, rain is not uncommon and we are used to it and prepared accordingly,” Tara Mal said.

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