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More than 320 dead in India flood crisis

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Kingseyi
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More than 320 dead in India flood crisis

Post by Kingseyi on Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:52 am

Pressure intensified Saturday to save thousands
still trapped by devastating floods that have
killed more than 300 in the Indian state of
Kerala, triggering landslides and sending
torrents sweeping through villages in the
region’s worst inundation crisis in a century.
An Indian woman watches residents
walking through flood streets next to their
marooned houses on the outskirts of
Kozhikode district, about 385 km north of
Trivandrum in the south Indian state of
Kerala, on August 17, 2018.
Troop reinforcements stepped up
desperate rescue attempts in India’s
flood-stricken Kerala state on August 17
after more than 100 bodies were found in
a day and a half, taking the crisis death
toll to at least 164. / AFP PHOTO /
Authorities warned of more torrential rain
and strong winds over the weekend, as
hundreds of troops and local fishermen
staged desperate rescue attempts in
helicopters and boats across the
southern state.
Kerala, popular among international tourists for
its tropical hills and beaches, has been battered
by record monsoon rainfall this year.
The state is “facing the worst floods in 100
years”, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on
Twitter, adding that at least 324 lives have been
lost so far.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in
the stricken state on Friday night, Vijayan’s
office tweeted, with media reports saying the
premier would undertake an aerial survey of the
worst-affected areas on Saturday.
People all over the state of 33 million have made
panicked appeals on social media for help,
saying they cannot make contact with rescue
services as power and communication lines are
down.
“My family and neighbouring families are in
trouble,” wrote Ajo Varghese, a resident of the
coastal city of Alappuzha, in a Facebook post
that quickly went viral.
“No water and food. Not able to communicate
from afternoon. Mobile phones are not
reachable… Please help,” he added.
Other distressed messages were shared online
from people trapped inside temples and
hospitals as well as their homes.
More than 30 military helicopters and 320 boats
are attempting rescues across Kerala after some
areas were engulfed by overflowing rivers, with
residents seen swimming and wading through
chest-high waters past partially submerged
houses.
Authorities said thousands of people have been
taken to safety so far but 6,000 more are still
waiting for rescue.
“We are deploying more boats and the army to
ramp up rescue operations,” senior state
government official P.H. Kurian told AFP.
Helicopters have also been dropping emergency
food and water supplies, while special trains
carrying drinking water have been sent to
Kerala.
– ‘Extremely grave’ –
According to India’s weather bureau, since the
beginning of June more than 321 centimetres
(126 inches) of rain has fallen on the hilly
central district of Idukki, which is now virtually
cut off from the rest of the state.
The Kerala government has said it faces an
“extremely grave” crisis and Vijayan warned of
further torrential rainfall hitting the region over
the weekend.
The gates of dozens of dams and reservoirs
across the state have been opened as water
levels reach danger levels, inundating many
other villages.
At least 310,000 people have been displaced
and are taking shelter in more than 2,000 relief
camps.
North and central Kerala have been worst-hit by
the floods with the international airport in the
main city of Kochi shut until at least August 26.
The home ministry announced separately that
868 people have been reported dead in seven
Indian states including Kerala since the start of
the monsoon in June.


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