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Members of a rescue team wade through a water-logged area past a submerged temple during heavy rains on the outskirts of Kochi in the southern state of Kerala Image Credit: Reuters

Thiruvananthapuram: The vacation time spread over August and September 2018 is one that expatriates from Kerala in the Gulf countries would like to forget. That was when the mighty floods submerged most parts of the state, forced a shutdown of the Cochin airport and virtually wiped out the state’s biggest festival, Onam, all of which dampened their holidays.

Another August, and the scene looked ominous on Friday as incessant rains wreaked havoc across the state and the authorities at the Cochin International Airport Ltd at Nedumbassery announced a shutdown of the airport until Sunday.

Elsewhere in the state, commuting has been seriously hindered with the railway network affected and numerous roads submerged in rain waters.

One consolation this year is that water levels in all the major dams are at low levels, which rules out the possibility of releasing their waters.

This is the time of the year that Kerala expat families from the Gulf as well as from Europe and America come home for vacation. Their family members here say many of them are worried whether they will be able to make it at all given the challenging climatic situation. Some are even considering cancellation of tickets.

Last year many of them found their onward or return journeys crippled as the Cochin airport remained shut for days together.

Within the state, too, they had trouble commuting to visit friends and relatives as road traffic was affected by the flood waters.

The tourism industry in the state which looks forward to the visit of Keralite NRIs during August-September is also worried over the possibility of another flood. The peak tourism season in Kerala was stifled last year owing to the flood, and a repeat can deal a crippling blow to many operators including the houseboat sector in Alappuzha.

The retail sector is also concerned about another round of floods. The Onam season is the top-selling period of the year for all retailers, and they are worried whether this Onam season too could be lost because of the weather.