800,000 people homeless after floods tear through Kerala with more rain on the way
August 20, 2018 10:30 AM NPT
An aerial view of flooded Kuttanad in Alappuzha district in Kerala (Picture: AP Photo/Charly K C) Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2018/08/19/800000-people-homeless-after-floods-tear-through-kerala-with-more-rain-on-the-way-7856692/?ito=cbshare Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetroUK | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/
Aug 20: Around 800,000 people have been displaced and more than 350 have died in floods in southern India, authorities said. Forecasters have predicted more rains across Kerala state until tomorrow morning as thousands of rescuers try to reach the stranded. Efforts are being made to get relief supplies to isolated areas by hundreds of boats and nearly two dozen helicopters, said P.H. Kurian, a top disaster management official in Kerala.
Railway official Milind Deouskar said two trains carrying around 1.5 million litres of water were moving to the flooded areas from the neighbouring states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Mr Kurian said weather conditions had improved considerably and expected the nearly 10,000 people still stranded to be rescued by Monday. An estimated 800,000 people were sheltered in some 4,000 relief camps across Kerala, he added.
Kerala has seen the worst flooding in a century this month after downpours started on August 8. The heavy rainfal triggered landslides and caused homes and bridges to collapse across the state, which is known for its quiet tropical backwaters and beautiful beaches. Officials estimate that more than 6,200 miles of roads have been damaged.
One of the state’s major airports, in the city of Kochi, was closed on Tuesday due to the flooding and is scheduled to remain closed until August 26. The Indian government said a naval air base in Kochi will be opened for commercial flights starting on Monday morning. India’s prime minister Narendra Modi inspected the flooded landscape from a helicopter on Saturday and met with the state’s top officials, promising more than $70 million (£54 million) in aid.
While the central government has dispatched multiple military units to Kerala, state officials are pleading for additional help. Officials have put initial storm damage estimates at nearly $3 billion. At least 250 people have died in the flooding in a little over a week, with 31 others missing, according to Mr Kurian. More than 1,000 people have died in flooding in seven Indian states since the start of the monsoon season, including over 350 in Kerala.