Kerala Floods Claim Reaches Over 100 As 40 More People Have Been Swept Away


New Delhi: Kerala floods have claimed over 100 lives so far as over 40 people have been swept away on Thursday by rising waters as the worst flood in the state in nearly a century. Floods threatened to sink neighbouring other southern Indian states, where dams neared maximum capacity and rivers in spate.

The airport in Kochi, the state’s largest, was declared shut till August 26 and Southern Railway and Kochi Metro suspended their operations. More than 150,000 people jostled for space in relief camps as their houses collapsed under heavy rainfall or were cut off by surging waters that have damaged more than 10,000 kilometres of roads.

“Kochi Airport operations is temporarily suspended up to 2 pm on August 26 due to very high flood situation and key essential facilities like runway, taxiway and apron are under submerged condition,” an airport statement said.

Chief Minister PinarayiVijayan warned of a grimmer situation as more rain has been forecast till Saturday. “The Centre has sanctioned more men and material,” Vijayan said after a conversation with Prime Minister NarendraModi and other central leaders.

Thursday saw 10 more helicopters joining the existing fleet in the massive rescue operation while 40 additional teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and a team of marine commandos also arrived. Thirty three of the state’s 39 dams have opened their sluice gates to discharge water, adding to the surge in already overflowing rivers.

Pathanamthitta district in central Kerala continued to be the worst affected in the last 24 hours as thousands of people are trapped in their homes in the towns of Ranni, Aranmula and Kozhencherry.

“This sort of a situation has never been faced by the state. We are doing all that is humanly possible and rescue efforts are going on,” Vijayanadded.

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