800,000 displaced in flooding


Associated Press

CHENGANNUR, India

Some 800,000 people have been displaced and over 350 have died in the worst flooding in a century in southern India’s Kerala state, officials said Sunday, as rescuers searched for people stranded in the worst-affected areas.

The downpours that started Aug. 8 have triggered floods and landslides and caused homes and bridges to collapse across Kerala, a picturesque state known for its quiet tropical backwaters and beautiful beaches.

Thousands of rescuers were continuing efforts to reach out to stranded people and get relief supplies to isolated areas by hundreds of boats and nearly two dozen helicopters, said P.H. Kurian, a top disaster-management official in Kerala. He said weather conditions had improved considerably and expected the nearly 10,000 people still stranded to be rescued by today.

An estimated 800,000 people have taken shelter in some 4,000 relief camps across Kerala, Kurian said.

Weather officials have predicted more rains across the state through this morning.

In several villages in the suburbs of Chengannur, one of the worst-affected areas, carcasses of dead cattle were seen floating in muddy waters as water began receding.

However, vast rice fields continued to be marooned and many vehicles were submerged.

In some villages, floodwaters up to 10 feet high had entered homes.

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