Bodies found as floods recede in India's Kerala


Some 800,000 people have been displaced and over 350 have died in the worst flooding in a century in southern India's Kerala state, as authorities rushed to bring drinking water to the most affected areas, officials said Sunday. "We did not have any food for the last four days and there was neck deep water all around", said a woman survivor in a relief camp at Ranni in Pathanamthitta district.

"We are deploying more boats and the army to ramp up rescue operations", senior state government official PH Kurian told AFP.

Almost 725,000 people have taken shelter in relief camps, state government spokesman Subhash T.V. said yesterday. There have been instances of people sending such messages which were hampering the operations on the ground.

Monsoon rains and heavy flooding have killed hundreds of people and forced more than 300,000 others to seek shelter in Kerala.

"Things are running very well and all central forces are providing wonderful services".

In several villages in the suburbs of Chengannur, one of the worst-affected areas, carcasses of dead cattle were seen floating in muddy waters as water began receding.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said there was no shortage of food in the state as traders had stocked up ahead of Onam, the state's biggest festival which falls on August 25.

A sub-committee comprising additional chief secretary, health, and additional chief secretary, local bodies, will monitor all activities including health care, sanitation, cleanliness and waste management. Indian Social Club, Sohar, in association with a few NGOs is putting in place a mechanism to collect new clothes to be sent to the affected areas.

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The Kerala government has said it faces an "extremely grave" crisis and Mr Vijayan warned of a further rainfall over the weekend.

"Assured the people of the state that entire nation was with them", the Rashtrapati Bhavan tweeted.

In this image from video, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks out from inside a helicopter during an aerial survey of flood affected areas in Kerala, southern India, on August 18, 2018.

Kerala is facing the heaviest rains and consequent widespread floods and destruction since 1924, which the state estimates has caused a loss of over Rs 19,500 crore.

The monsoon rains caused massive flooding throughout the region and sparked landslides that have covered highways. High-range Idukki district, Malappuram and Thrissur are among the worst-hit.

North and central Kerala have been worst-hit by the floods, with the global airport in the main city of Kochi shut until at least August 26.

The railways have cancelled at least 18 trains, partially cancelled nine and diverted today's Kanyakumari-Mumbai CST express train via Nagercoil, Tirunelveli, Madurai, Dindigul and Erode.

Dozens of helicopters have been dropping tons of food, medicine and water over areas cut off due to damaged roads and bridges. "Motors are damaged", Vijayan said, according to the BBC.