Thiruvananthapuram | Jagran News Desk: At least 21 people have died while more than dozen continue to be missing after heavy rains led to flash floods and triggered landslides in Kerala's Kottayam and Idukki districts. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has termed the situation "serious" and sought assistance from Indian Army, Navy and Air Force.

"People living on river banks and below the dam area should be vigilant and follow the instructions given by the authorities. Do not enter into the water bodies for any reason. Trips to high range areas should be avoided as much as possible. Those who are living in areas prone to mud slides and landslides should take extreme caution," said Vijayan in a post on Facebook.

Here are the latest updates from Kerala rains:

* Due to the heavy rains in Kerala, the Centre has deployed 11 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams in the state to carry out the rescue operations. Besides NDRF, two Army and two Defence Service Corps (DSC) teams have also been deployed.

* The Navy and Air Force have also kept theur teams on standby and said that they are fully ready to carry out rescue operations.

* Meanwhile, Chief Minister Vijayan held a crucial meet on Saturday to review the situation and directed officials to assist the affected people by following appropriate COVID-19 norms. He also said that masks, sanitisers and other essential things should be made available at rescue camps.

"Caution should be taken for people who have co-morbidities and those who have not taken vaccination," he said during the meeting, as reported by news agency ANI.

* The state government has also postponed the reopening of colleges in Kerala till October 20. It has also requested Lord Ayyappa devotees to refrain from visiting Sabarimala Temple on October 17 and October 18.

* Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that the situation is expected to improve in Kerala as the situation the low pressure area over southeast Arabian Sea and adjoining Kerala has become less marked.

"There is a possibility of light to moderate rainfall at many places with only isolated heavy rainfall over the state during next 24 hours and further decrease thereafter," it said.

* Earlier, the IMD had issued a red alert in five districts, an orange alert for seven districts and a yellow alert for two districts of Kerala.

* Union Home Minister Amit Shah, meanwhile, has said that the Centre will provide all possible assistance to the people of Kerala who have been affected by the heavy rains.

"The Central govt will provide all possible support to help people in need. NDRF teams have already been sent to assist the rescue operations. Praying for everyone's safety," he tweeted.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma