Flood death toll in India's Kerala jumps to 445

A state official told AFP that apart from the new rainfall warnings, a breakdown of the local communication system was making it difficult for them to reach local people who may be in urgent need in the worst-affected areas.

The death toll from devastating floods in the southern Indian state of Kerala rose to 445 on Sunday with the discovery of 28 more bodies as the waters recede and a massive cleanup gathers pace, government officials said.
Around a million people are still packed into temporary relief camps and 15 are reported missing even as the government mounts an operation to clean homes and public places that have been filled with dirt and sand left by the floods.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in a tweet said that more than 130,000 flood-hit houses had been cleaned, or nearly a third of those affected.
Authorities are also in the process of restoring electricity connections.
People returning to their homes have been told to stay alert as receding waters leave behind a glut of snakes. State authorities and wildlife experts have formed teams to come to the aid of those who have found snakes in their home, according to local media.
With the death toll rising daily, Kerala authorities said a “due process will be followed to ascertain if all these deaths are flood related”.
A 68-year-old man committed suicide on Wednesday after seeing the state of his home at Kothad in Ernakulam district. A 19-year-old boy took his own life earlier in the week because his school certificates were destroyed by the floods, police said.
The government says that more than 10,000 kilometres (6,000 miles) of roads have been destroyed or damaged while a legislator said 50,000 houses had been wiped out.
Hundreds of troops and local fishermen are staging desperate rescue attempts with helicopters and boats across the southern state, which draws international tourists to its tropical hills and beaches.
Kerala has been battered by record monsoon rainfall this year and is "facing the worst floods in 100 years", chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said
With thousands still trapped, power and communication lines down and fresh alerts of further torrential rain, authorities warned of more trouble ahead and further deaths to come. "We are deploying more boats and army to ramp up rescue operations," senior state government official P.H. Kurian told AFP
More than 30 military helicopters and 320 boats are attempting rescues across Kerala.
Authorities said thousands of people have been taken to safety so far but 6,000 more are still waiting for rescue.
Helicopters have also been dropping emergency food and water supplies, while special trains carrying drinking water have been sent to Kerala. According to India's weather bureau, since the beginning of June more than 321 centimetres (126 inches) of rain has fallen on the hilly central Kerala district of Idukki, which is now virtually cut off from the rest of the state.
With no end in sight to the deluge, people all over the state of 33 million people have made panic-stricken appeals on social media for help, saying they cannot make contact with rescue services. "My family and neighbouring families are in trouble," wrote Ajo Varghese, a resident of the coastal city of Alappuzha, in a Facebook post that quickly went viral.
"No water and food. Not able to communicate from afternoon. Mobile phones are not reachable... Please help," he added.
Other messages have been sent from people trapped inside temples and hospitals as well as their homes.
The Kerala government has said it faces an "extremely grave" crisis and state chief minister Vijayan warned of a new wave of rainfall hitting the battered region over the weekend. Strong winds have also been predicted for Saturday and Sunday.
The gates of dozens of dams and reservoirs across the state have been opened as water levels reach danger levels, inundating many other villages.
North and central Kerala have been worst-hit by the floods with the international airport in the main city of Kochi shut until at least August 26 .
At least 220,000 people displaced from across the state are taking shelter in more than 1,500 relief camps.
On top of tourist cancellations, Kerala's valuable rubber industry has been badly hit by the floods.
The government says 10,000 kilometres (6,000 miles) of Kerala roads have been destroyed or damaged, along with thousands of homes.
News reports said electricity supplies to more than half the state have been cut. The state power company said that only one million people were affected, however.
The home ministry announced meanwhile that 868 people have been reported dead in seven Indian states including Kerala since the start of the monsoon in June.

More than 150,000 people made homeless across the state have moved into some 1,300 relief camps.
Vijayan's office Friday posted a fresh warning for around 33 million residents of Kerala.
"Alert: all districts apart from Kasargod are under red alert... heavy rains may affect these 13 districts. 

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South Punjab News : Flood death toll in India's Kerala jumps to 445
Flood death toll in India's Kerala jumps to 445
A state official told AFP that apart from the new rainfall warnings, a breakdown of the local communication system was making it difficult for them to reach local people who may be in urgent need in the worst-affected areas.
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South Punjab News
http://www.southpunjabnews.com/2018/08/flood-death-toll-in-indias-kerala-jumps.html
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