Monsoon waters kill hundreds in Indian state: Kerala floods


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Updated18/08/18  
BY BBC
At least 324 people have been killed in flooding in the southern Indian state of Kerala in what local officials say is the worst flooding in 100 years.
India's monsoon season started in June, but the death toll in Kerala has soared in the past 24 hours.
Rescuers are battling torrential rains to save residents, with more than 200,000 people left homeless in camps.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in the state to see the devastation for himself.
The Kerala government said many of those who died had been crushed under debris caused by landslides.
With more rains predicted and a red alert in place, Kerala's main airport is expected to remain shut until 26 August.
Hundreds of troops have been deployed to rescue those caught up in the flooding.
Helicopters have been airlifting people marooned by the flooding to safety, with photographs and footage emerging from the area showing elderly people and children being rescued.
More than 300 boats are also involved in rescue attempts, AFP news agency reports.
The government has urged people not to ignore evacuation orders, and is distributing food to tens of thousands of people who have fled to higher ground.
The Indian home ministry says more than 930 people have now died across India since the country's monsoon season began.
The region's chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, has described the flooding as the worst the state has seen in a century.
"We're witnessing something that has never happened before in the history of Kerala," he told reporters.
Mr Vijayan said more than 223,000 people were now living in more than 1,500 emergency relief camps set up in the area.
Parts of Kerala's commercial capital, Cochin, are underwater, snarling up roads and leaving railways across the state impassable
The state's airport is a hub for domestic and overseas tourists, so its closure is likely to cause major disruption.
Some local plantations are reported to have been inundated by water, endangering the local rubber, tea, coffee and spice industries.
Schools in all 14 districts of Kerala have been closed and some districts have banned tourists, citing safety concerns.



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