Kerala CM Orders School Closures in Anticipation of a Heatwave

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Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan met on Thursday to discuss the possibility of heat waves in the state as Kerala continues to struggle with extreme heat. He also announced a number of directives, including the closure of schools till May 6. Officials said that the Chief Minister also gave instructions for the monsoon season during a State Disaster Management Authority online meeting that District Collectors attended. Due to an expected heatwave, the India Meteorological Department issued a yellow advisory for the districts of Alappuzha, Palakkad, Thrissur, and Kozhikode. Vijayan asked locals to avoid direct sunlight between 11 am and 3 pm on Thursday and Friday.

According to a statement released by the Chief Minister’s Office, he gave the order that people who work during these hours—such as farmers, hawkers, construction workers, and others—should modify their work schedules accordingly, holiday classes should be avoided from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and daytime parades and drills shouldn’t be held at police, fire department, and other force training facilities. According to the CM, academic institutions—including professional colleges—will be shuttered from now until May 6. He also ordered examinations to be conducted in high-risk areas for fires, such as marketplaces, buildings, garbage collection and storage facilities, hospitals, and significant government structures.

The statement further stated that additional directives given in the meeting included making sure drinking water is available in tribal hamlets and habitations, grazing livestock under the midday sun, and adhering to forest department guidelines to prevent forest fires. Maximum temperatures between Thursday and May 6 are predicted by the IMD to be approximately 40 degrees Celsius in Palakkad, 39 degrees Celsius in Kollam, Thrissur, and Kozhikode, 38 degrees Celsius in Alappuzha, Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, and Kannur, and 37 degrees Celsius in the remaining districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Malappuram, and Kasaragod.

Regarding preparation for the monsoon, the CM ordered that a meeting be held in the district’s minister’s presence, chaired by the collector, to discuss what needs to be done first as part of the pre-rains cleaning work was stated. He instructed local self-government bodies to begin pre-monsoon cleaning immediately in order to unclog tiny canals, culverts, and drains before the rains arrive.

Other directives from Vijayan during the meeting included not letting trash pile up, making sure mosquitoes are controlled, getting buildings ready to serve as relief camps, emptying excess water from rivers and canals into the ocean, and removing obstacles from dam spillways and regulators. In addition, he gave the order to remove any trees, branches, hoardings, and posts that can endanger people before it rains. He went on to say that people who live in hilly regions that are vulnerable to landslides should be made aware of the dangers by having warning signs posted at tourist destinations.

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