Published: Mon, August 20, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Flood crisis death toll jumps to 357

Flood crisis death toll jumps to 357

About 22,000 people were rescued from the flood-hit Indian state of Kerala on Sunday, officials say, after monsoon rains finally eased.

For the first time since 8 August, when heavy rains started wreaking havoc in the southern state, people in Kerala heaved a sigh of relief as there was respite from the rains in most parts of the state today. The beaches and backwaters of Kerala are top destinations for domestic and worldwide tourists, but far fewer visit during the monsoon season.

Chief Minister Vijayan has estimated that more than two million people have been forced to move into relief camps since the monsoon season brought torrential rains three months ago.

The lull in the rain over the weekend may yet prove temporary.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that 38 helicopters and at least 20 aircraft have been pressed into service. In the town of Chengannur, by the swollen Pamba river, roughly 5,000 people are believed to be stranded.

In Chengannur, local politician Saji Cherian earlier broke down in tears on TV describing the crisis there. "The air marshal in charge of the air operations said more helicopters are on the way". "I hope you can see this".

"We rescued several people but now there is no one to help us return to where we came from with our boats. People have to be airlifted".

"Tragic that PM Modi announced a pittance of 500 cr for Kerala flood relief against the State's demand of 2000 cr".

Vijayan praised the fishermen for joining the rescue mission.

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At Kerala's Cochin International Airport, runways are underwater and it is expected to remain closed until August 26.

1,500 Number of relief centres set up.

Tens of thousands of people in the flooded Indian state of Kerala are stuck on rooftops without food, water and electricity in the still unfolding emergency.

"Germs spread quickly in these conditions, and water-borne diseases like dysentery, typhoid and cholera are particular problems", Mr Chacko told The National.

A young officer safely winched to safety a baby from a building marooned by flood waters yesterday, while at another place girl students from a hostel were rescued in a similar manner.

Thousands of rescuers were continuing efforts to reach out to stranded people and get relief supplies to isolated areas by hundreds of boats and almost two dozen helicopters, Kurian said.

In Kerala, the 1924 flood is usually referred to as the "flood of 99", as it was the year 1099 in the Malayalam Calendar.

Many are still stranded in their homes with no food and sheaths of water around them at various places in Alapuzha, Thrissur and Ernakulam districts. "It will take days to clean to make it liveable", TP Johnny, 60, told Reuters in Cheranelloor, a suburb of the commercial capital of Cochin.

At least 1,500 pharmacies around Kerala have been partially or fully submerged, according to the All Kerala Chemists and Drugs Association. "We don't need clothes/food.Ppl with technical capabilities are reqd to put life back into Kerala", tweeted ANI quoting Union minister KJ Alphons. On the other hand, Japan said that it is ready to provide any assistance when "needed by the Government of India".

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