Death Toll Surpasses 350 in India’s Kerala Flooding
The death toll in the southern Indian state of Kerala has passed 350 as thousands of rescuers continue to search through flooded areas for survivors Sunday.
The situation is grim in the picturesque, coastal state, a well-known tourist destination, where rivers, dams and reservoirs have overflowed after record monsoon rains swept away roads and homes.
More than 800,000 people have been displaced and are now living in relief camps across the state, sparking fears of an outbreak of water-borne and air-borne diseases.
A massive rescue-and-relief effort has been stepped up as the scale of the disaster widens and distress messages continue to pour in from people stranded on rooftops and in remote villages.
In some villages, floodwaters up to 3 meters high have entered homes.
Rescuers fear the death toll will continue to rise as they reach villages entirely under water. Meteorologists forecast rains continuing through Monday.
The northern and central parts of the state, which is home to 33 million people, have been hit the worst. Power, transport and other infrastructure has taken a huge hit and the international airport in the main city, Kochi, has been closed.
Kerala’s chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, said the state is facing an extremely grave crisis and the economic damage is likely to run into billions of dollars.
“The nation stands firmly with Kerala in this hour,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted after conducting an aerial survey on Saturday. He promised more assistance to the rescue-and-relief effort.
Source: Voice of America