Published: Sun, August 19, 2018

Flood Kills 164 People, Displaces 223,000

Flood Kills 164 People, Displaces 223,000

A boat carries relief material towards flooded areas in Thrissur, in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

Rescuers in helicopters and boats fought to get to stranded villages in India's Kerala state Saturday as the toll from the worst monsoon floods in a century rose above 320 dead.

According to the latest weather report, heavy rains accompanied with gusty wind speed reaching 60 kmph is expected in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Idukki and Ernakulam districts.

People trapped without food, water and electricity anxious about being left without help as their phone batteries were dying. "At least for now, I hope leaders will dump their demand for more dams in the state", said eminent environmental scientist V S Vijayan, a member of the Madhav Gadgil panel on the Western Ghats.

"There are seven families in this apartment now. If this goes out, I will have some charge left in my laptop and then it will be incommunicado".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with the state's top officials on Saturday and promised more than $70m in aid.

Chengannnur MLA Saji Cherian broke down on local television saying, "please ask Modi to give us helicopters, pls pls, 50 thousand people will die".

Roads and over 134 bridges have suffered damage, isolating remote areas in the hilly districts of the state which are worst affected.

Hundreds of troops and local fishermen are staging desperate rescue attempts with helicopters and boats across the southern state, which draws global tourists to its tropical hills and beaches.

Relief measures are being done on a war footing with other states and politicians coming forward to help the affected people.

They are taking shelter in more than 2,000 relief camps.

"For the past five days people are without food in many places".

The floods began nine days ago and Vijayan said 164 people had been killed - some in landslides - with about 223,000 people forced into 1,568 relief camps.

There are fears even more people could die as countless people are still marooned and desperate for food and drinking water. The actual loss can be ascertained after the water recedes in the affected areas.

However, in India, there is no need for a government notification to move central forces like the Army or the NDRF to assist states for disaster relief and rescue works.

With Kerala facing its worst floods and landslides in almost a century, an animal charity body said that its rescuers were battling treacherous conditions to rescue and rehabilitate stranded and abandoned animals.

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