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India floods move 1M people in camps

August 13, 2019

NEW Delhi: Indian authorities have relocated around a million people into emergency camps in recent days as the death toll from monsoon floods jumped Monday to at least 184.

The southern state of Kerala, a tourist haven known for its beaches, hill resorts and backwaters, has been the worst hit region for the second consecutive year, forcing the closure of the Kochi international airport for three days last week.

“At least 76 people have died, 58 are missing and another 32 have received injuries,” Pramod Kumar, Kerala police spokesman, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Around 288,000 people across the state’s worst affected districts including Wayanad, Malappuram and Kozhikode have been moved to relief camps.

India floods move 1M people in camps 1
A farmer helps his cattle to wade through floodwaters across a road near Jamkhandi Taluk at Belgaum district of Karnataka state situated about 525 kms north of the south Indian city of Bangalore on August 11, 2019. AFP PHOTO

At least 42 people have also lost their lives in neighbouring Karnataka state, which has seen some of its worst flooding of recent years.

“We have evacuated over 580,000 people,” a senior Karnataka government official told AFP.

“At least 14 others are still missing. We have rescued around 480,000 people, over 50,000 animals and set up around 1,100 relief camps which have over 300,000 people,” a Karnataka government official told AFP.

He said at least 136 roads and highways across the state had either been damaged or remain cut off because of floodwaters.

“The rains have eased in the upstream Maharashtra state but some reservoirs in the region have received record inflows and will have to be opened,” he added.

“It is an unprecedented situation. We expect the flows to reduce in the next four-five days if there aren’t any more rains.”

At least 27 people have also lost their lives in Maharashtra, where several key towns have been underwater over the last few days, media reports said.

Accidents caused by heavy rains in Gujarat, the home state of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have taken the lives of at least 16 people.

Many key highways and roads across the affected regions have been damaged or cut off by rising waters.

Local emergency personnel and troops from the army, navy and air force have been deployed for search, rescue and relief operations.

Indian media have also reported 66 deaths in the western states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, with tens of thousands of people shifted to relief camps.

While the monsoon rains are crucial to replenishing water supplies in drought-stricken India, they kill hundreds of people across the country every year.

Last year Kerala was hit by its worst floods in almost a century with around 450 people killed.


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