India: Death toll from Kerala floods reaches 67

By Ahmad Adil

NEW DELHI (AA) – The death toll in the southern Indian state of Kerala from floods and landslides triggered by torrential monsoon rains has risen to 67, state government officials said Wednesday.

The state is witnessing the worst floods in its history, which have disrupted airline and train services.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office said on Twitter that around 150,000 people have been shifted to over 1,050 relief camps operating in the area.

“The state is making all possible efforts to tackle the situation. In the morning, red alerts were issued for 12 of the [state’s] 14 districts. But by evening, it was extended to all districts in the state,” said the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO).

According to the officials, on Wednesday, an Indian army contingent also landed at Trivandrum International Airport to conduct rescue operations. The CMO said the army personnel are being rushed to areas where people are stranded.

The state has already announced the closure of Kochi International Airport until Saturday afternoon after floodwater entered the area.

A senior official from Kerala’s State Disaster Management Authority told Anadolu Agency early Thursday that because of the situation arising from the continuous rainfall, the death toll is expected to rise.

In India, monsoon rains kill hundreds of people every year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also has said that the Indian government is ready to provide any assistance needed to the state.

The U.S. has also asked its citizens to avoid all areas in Kerala affected by landslides and flash floods.

In another incident, 45 people were rescued in Madhya Pradesh state who were trapped on rocks in a river after being swept away by a flash flood while picnicking at a waterfall. The incident occurred in the state’s Shivpuri district.

Shivpuri district Superintendent of Police Rajesh Hingankar told Anadolu Agency that the administration launched the rescue operation Wednesday and it carried over into Thursday.

“We will get confirmation later in the day if anyone is still missing in the incident,” he said.

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