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Kerala continued to reel under flood fury on Wednesday as surging waters led to the Cochin international airport being shut till Saturday, hit rail services and threatened relief camps, affected power and drinking water supply in various areas and took the toll to 67. A red alert was sounded in 12 out 14 districts following heavy rainfall and opening of shutters of 35 dams while more people were shifted to relief camps including 23,000 in Ernakulam. All educational institutions across the state were ordered closed on Thursday. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who discussed the situation with prime minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Rajnath Singh, sought more army and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams in the state and was assured of all help. As Mullaperiyar dam in worst-affected Idukki, which serves Tamil Nadu, again became an issue between the two states with the neighbouring state refusing to take more water from the dam which was full to its capacity of 142 feet, Vijayan raised the issue with Singh after his talks with his Tamil Nadu counterpart EK Palaniswami proved abortive. Following the home minister's intervention,‚ÄČTamil Nadu agrees to draw more water from Mullaperiyar. As floods created havoc across the state, it was the first time the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) was closed for four days after the area was inundated. Operations of international and domestic flights were earlier suspended till 2pm on Wednesday but authorities decided to shut the airport till 2pm on Saturday after reviewing the worsening situation. "Operations were suspended after water reached the runaway in the early hours of Wednesday. Most of the incoming flights are diverted to Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikkode airports," CIAL director ACK Nair said. The airport is situated near the banks of the swollen Periyar river and water from most of the dams in the upper reaches of Idukki is flowing into the river that later merges with the Arabia Sea.
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