At least 28 people were killed in a trail of destruction caused by torrential southwest monsoon rains in the Indian state of Kerala. In this image, people stand on the steps of Aluva Shiva Temple complex submerged in water after the opening of Idamalayar dam shutter following heavy rains, on the outskirts of Kochi city in Kerala, India, Aug. 9, 2018. REUTERS/Sivaram V

At least 28 people were killed in a trail of destruction caused by torrential southwest monsoon rains in the southern Indian state of Kerala over the last 48 hours. Over 15,500 people were taking shelter in state-run relief camps.

According to latest reports, at least 69 tourists including several foreigners (two from the United States, seven from Singapore, five from Oman, seven from Saudi Arabia and three from Russia) were stranded at a resort in the district of Munnar due to landslides. Emergency services have begun efforts to restore the damaged road leading to the resort.

The gates of 24 major reservoirs, including the massive Idukki dam, were opened Thursday — which posed a threat to the low lying areas of the state — as they collected water in the catchment area due to rains. According to reports, the last shutter of the Idukki reservoir was opened with an outflow of water at 112,273 gallons per second. The maximum storage level of the reservoir is 2,403 feet and it had reached its maximum capacity before its shutters were opened Thursday.

Kerala’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the situation was very grim with the opening of water reservoir gates.

“24 dams have been opened so far, which is unprecedented and is telling of the seriousness of the situation,” he said.

The chief minister’s office tweeted about warning issued to the people living in the low-lying areas.

“Considering the situation, CM has instructed to alert the people living in downstream areas with the help of announcements. He has also instructed to relocate people living in vulnerable areas,” the tweet said, adding, “As the water-level in Idukki dam continues to rise, more water will have to be released. It has been estimated that at least 3 times the volume that is being released now will have to be spilled.”

A Kerala State Electricity Board official had said Thursday all the shutters would be opened “if the rain continues. … All residents living along 100 meters of the dam have been asked to relocate to safe places.”

With severe floods destroying several towns and villages, and landslides causing damage to houses and roads, personnel from the National Disaster Response Force, as well as the Indian Army and Navy have been deployed in the state.

The meteorological department suggested the situation could remain bleak for a couple of days, and issued red alert in at least five districts. According to the state’s Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekharan, necessary steps were being taken to supply drinking water and rations to all the affected people.

K. Santhosh, Kerala director of India Meteorological Department, said, “Kerala has received 17 percent more rainfall so far during the current season compared with last year.”

P.H. Kurian, State Relief Commissioner, said, “The situation is grim, especially in the coastal parts of Kerala, given the continuous rains.”

Landing operations at the Cochin International Airport had to be suspended for a few hours Wednesday due to water logging on the runway.

The U.S. also issued an advisory asking its citizens to avoid visiting Kerala. “Avoid all areas throughout Kerala affected by landslip and flash floods,” it read.