Extreme Weather in India on August 12 2018 12:58 PM (UTC).
The death toll in Kerala rose on Monday to nearly 400 after its worst flood in a century, as authorities handed out medicine and disinfectants to ward off disease in thousands of relief camps. Dozens of people are missing and 1.2 million are sheltering in the camps, state officials said, as water receded and a huge clean-up gathered pace. "The death toll has risen to 373," an official of the state's disaster management authority told Reuters. Kerala received rainfall more than 40 percent greater than normal for the monsoon season, which runs from June to September. Torrential rain in the last 10 days forced officials to release water from dozens of dangerously full dams. The Indian government classified the floods as a "calamity of severe nature." Kerala has pitched it as a national disaster, which if accepted by the central government, is likely to prompt greater commitments of funds for relief and rebuilding efforts. But, without a yardstick for such a declaration, it could be an uphill task, state officials involved with disaster management said. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan called the flood one of the worst in India's history, displacing more than half a million people. J.P. Nadda, the country's health minister, said more than 3,500 medical camps were set up across a region roughly the size of Switzerland, where rains since Aug. 8 have swelled rivers and triggered landslides. "There is a requirement for 90 different medicines and the first instalment has reached," he added. "The biggest challenges immediately ahead are cleaning of the flood-hit houses, rehabilitation, and prevention of water-borne diseases," said Mahesh P., a village official in Rayamangalam, about 45 km (28 miles) from Kerala's financial capital of Kochi. Mahesh oversees four relief camps in his village, which itself escaped flood damage. The camps accommodate people rescued from neighbouring areas, which were among the worst affected. The villagers had all pulled together to rescue people and prevent an even bigger disaster, Mahesh said. "The flood has bonded the people like never before, sharing whatever they had." Chlorine powder to disinfect water and other cleaning material are distributed by the camps Mahesh oversees, along with a basic survival kit consisting of a five-day supply of rice and food, toiletries and clothing. Light to moderate rain was expected across Kerala on Monday, promising respite to rescue workers, who have battled rising waters and mudslides to reach tens of thousands of stranded villagers. In one of the worst-hit areas, Chengannur, about 100 km (62 miles) from Kochi, a long queue of women snaked out of a medical camp at the main relief centre. As a helicopter hovered overhead, doctors checked elderly men and women lying on wooden benches in an engineering college. "People are being screened for respiratory infections," said a camp doctor, Rajesh Parameshwaran, adding that another infection doctors were targeted was leptospirosis, which can strike people wading through stagnant water.
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 Monday. 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 Monday 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 3 meters (10 feet) high had entered homes. Rescuers in a motorboat reached a hamlet where they tried in vain to persuade an 80-year-old woman, Bhavani Yamma, to be taken to a government-run shelter from her partially submerged single-story house. "I will not come. This is my home and I will die here," said Yamma, who lives alone. The team later rescued a 61-year-old kidney ailment patient, Raveendran, who needs dialysis twice a week. One of the rescuers, Rajagopal, a police constable who uses only one name, said initially "we didn't anticipate it would be such a big disaster." But he said that by Wednesday, "we realized it's really big." Officials have called it the worst flooding in Kerala in a century, with rainfall in some areas well over double that of a typical monsoon season. At least two trains carrying about 1.5 million liters (400,000 gallons) of water moved to the flooded areas from the neighboring states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra on Sunday, Indian railway official Milind Deouskar said, according to the Press Trust of India news agency. After one of the trains arrived, Kurian, the disaster management official, said authorities had largely restored the state's water supply systems. "What we need right now is bottled water, which is easy to transport to remote and isolated places, where some people are still stranded," Kurian said. Officials estimate that more than 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) of roads have been damaged. One of the state's major airports, in the city of Kochi, was closed this past Tuesday due to the flooding. It is scheduled to remain closed until Aug. 26. The Indian government said a naval air base in Kochi would be opened for commercial flights starting Monday morning. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inspected the flooded landscape from a helicopter on Saturday and met with the state's top officials, promising more than $70 million in aid. While the central government has dispatched multiple military units to Kerala, state officials are pleading for additional help. Officials have put initial storm damage estimates at nearly $3 billion. At least 250 people have died in the flooding in a little over a week, with 31 others missing, according to Kurian. More than 1,000 people have died in flooding in seven Indian states since the start of the monsoon season, including over 350 in Kerala. In Vatican City on Sunday, Pope Francis held a moment of silence during his noontime blessing to pray for Kerala flood victims. "I am close to the church in Kerala, which is on the front lines in providing aid to the people," Francis said. He called for solidarity and "the concrete assistance of the international community." Kerala has a sizeable and ancient Christian community. Francis had hoped to visit India last year when he visited Bangladesh, but preparations fell apart in New Delhi and the Vatican added Myanmar to his trip instead.
More than 324 people have died in the worst flooding in nearly a century in the south Indian state of Kerala. Roads are damaged, mobile phone networks are down, an international airport has been closed and more than 220,000 people have been left homeless after unusually heavy rain in the past nine days. Officials repeatedly revised the death toll upwards from 86 people on Friday morning to more than 300 by the evening as a massive rescue operation reached more flood-hit regions. "Around 100 people died in the last 36 hours alone," a state official said. Casualty numbers are expected to increase further, with thousands more people still stranded and less intense though still heavy rain forecast for at least the next 24 hours. Many have died from being buried in hundreds of landslides set off by the flooding. The Kerala chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, said the state was experiencing an "extremely grave" crisis, with the highest flood warning in place in 12 of its 14 regions. "We're witnessing something that has never happened before in the history of Kerala," he told reporters. The Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, was on his way to Kerala on Friday evening "to take stock of the flood situation in the state", he said. Kerala, famed for its tea plantations, beaches and tranquil backwaters, is frequently saturated during the annual monsoon. But this year's deluge has swamped at least 20,000 homes and forced people into more than 1,500 relief camps. The toll in Kerala contributed to more than 900 deaths recorded by the Indian home ministry this monsoon season from landslides, flooding and rain.Rescue workers and members of India's armed forces have been deployed across the state with fleets of ships and aircraft brought in to save the thousands of people still stranded, many sheltering on their roofs signalling to helicopters for help. Officials estimated about 6,000 miles (10,000km) of roads had been submerged or buried by landslides and a major international airport in Cochin has been shut until 26 August. Communications networks were also faltering, officials said, making rescue efforts harder to coordinate. Residents of the state used social media to post desperate appeals for help, sometimes including their GPS coordinates to help guide rescuers. "My family and neighbouring families are in trouble with flood in Pandanad nakkada area in Alappuzha," Ajo Varghese said in a viral Facebook post. "No water and food. Not able to communicate from afternoon. Mobile phones are not reachable and switch off. Please help ... No rescue is available." The fate of the man was still unclear on Friday. The state finance minister, Thomas Isaac, tweeted in the afternoon that the last road to Chengannur had washed away before his eyes and the town was cut off. The water has claimed parts of Cochin, the state's commercial capital, and was still rising in some areas of the city on Friday, with residents urged to evacuate and guide ropes strung across roads inundated by fast-moving currents. Meteorologists said Kerala had received an average 37.5% more rainfall than usual. The hardest-hit districts such as Idukki in the north received 83.5% excess rain. More than 80 dams across the state had opened their gates to try to ease the crisis, the chief minister said.
The death toll from floods in the southern Indian state of Kerala has jumped to 164 and could grow further, with more rain predicted and thousands of people still awaiting rescue. Roads are damaged, mobile phone networks are down, an international airport has been closed and more than 150,000 people have been left homeless after unusually heavy rain this month caused the most damaging floods in Kerala in a century. The state chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, has described the crisis as "extremely grave", and the official death toll leapt on Friday from 86 to 164. "Around 100 people died in the last 36 hours alone," a state official said. North and central Kerala have been worst hit by the floods. Thousands of military and civilian boats and aircraft have been mobilised for the rescue effort. India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, said on Friday he had discussed the situation with Vijayan, as more troops and rescue workers were deployed across Kerala. "Later this evening I will be heading to Kerala to take stock of the unfortunate situation," Modi said on Twitter. The state, famed for its palm-lined beaches and tea plantations, is always pummelled by the annual monsoon, but this year's deluge has swamped thousands of homes and forced people into more than 1,300 relief camps. Vijayan's office posted a fresh warning on Friday. "Alert: all districts apart from Kasargod are under red alert ... heavy rains may affect these 13 districts. Everyone please be cautious," his office tweeted. People caught up in the floods have been posting desperate appeals on social media, sometimes including their GPS coordinates in the post. "My family and neighbouring families are in trouble with flood in Pandanad nakkada area in Alappuzha," Ajo Varghese said in a viral Facebook post. "No water and food. Not able to communicate from afternoon. Mobile phones are not reachable and switch off. Please help ... No rescue is available." Another man in flood-hit central town of Chengannur posted a video of himself neck-deep in water in his home. "It looks like water is rising to the second floor," he says. "I hope you can see this. Please pray for us." A state official said a breakdown of the communication systems was making it difficult to reach people who may be in urgent need in the worst-affected areas. The government said 10,000km (6,000 miles) of Kerala roads had been destroyed or damaged and tens of thousands of homes partially or completely damaged. The gates of at least 34 dams and reservoirs across the state have been opened in the last few days as water levels reached danger levels. The international airport in city of Kochi will remain shut until at least 26 August.
Severe flooding in the southern Indian state of Kerala has killed at least 80 people in the past week, and more heavy rain is forecast in coming days. State Relief Commissioner P.H. Kurian said the biggest loss of life came Thursday when 10 people died in a landslide. Boats have been deployed across the state to reach thousands of people stranded by floodwater, and fishermen had been asked to help with rescue efforts, he said. Officials announced the entire state was subject to a red alert Wednesday, the highest level, indicating the extent of the disaster which has forced tens of thousands of people to seek shelter in relief camps. Railway and road transport has been all but halted with railway tracks and roads submerged under water. Operations at the international airport in the city of Kochi have been suspended until Saturday due to flooding. "Kochi Airport operations temporarily suspended till 18th Saturday 2 pm since the inflow of water is still on a rising trend. We are working hard to drain out the storm water," said a statement posted on its website. Kochi metro operations have also been suspended until the water recedes. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has asked the defense ministry to step up relief and rescue operations in the state. "Praying for the safety and well-being of the people of Kerala," he tweeted. The state has been experiencing heavy rainfall that has resulted in dams filling to capacity. Water has had to be periodically released from these dams which has resulted in severe flooding in low-lying areas. "No dams have been damaged. We are releasing more water from the dams and that is what is causing the floods plus the rain," said Kurian, the state relief commissioner.
The death toll brought on by floods, landslides and bridge collapses in India's monsoon-hit state of Kerala has jumped to 67, according to officials. Authorities in the southern state, which is home to 33 million people, have placed local agencies on the highest alert level in what has turned out to be Kerala's worst monsoon in almost a century. Kerala is battered by the monsoon every year but the rains have been particularly severe since August 8, flooding hundreds of villages and prompting the authorities to suspend flights in and out of the region. More than 50,000 have sought shelter in relief camps. "Twenty five deaths were confirmed earlier in the evening. The situation is bad in many parts of the state and the number [of deaths] will likely increase," said a senior official from the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority. Unconfirmed local media reports mentioned a much higher toll and cited ongoing efforts to reach many flooded areas. The official added that authorities had issued a "red-alert" warning in all 14 districts of the flood-ravaged state, with heavy downpours expected over the next 24 hours in many of the worst affected areas. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's office announced on Twitter that Kochi International Airport - the main gateway to the region - would be closed until Saturday "due to heavy rains and resultant flooding". Vijayan held emergency meetings with rescue officials in the state late on Wednesday and discussed the situation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The chief minister has requested the deployment of additional personnel from the Indian army, navy and other emergency forces who are already working across the state, famed for its pristine palm-lined beaches and tea plantations. "Our state is in the midst of an unprecedented flood havoc," Vijayan said earlier this week. "The calamity has caused immeasurable misery and devastation." Authorities have opened the gates of 34 reservoirs as water reached dangerous levels. Vijayan's office on Wednesday said that the authorities were also worried about rising water levels in the massive Mullaperiyar dam, and urged officials in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu to release water from the reservoir. Hundreds of villages have been flooded, more than 10,000 kilometres of roads and thousands of homes have been destroyed or damaged across the state, officials said. "We have asked all airlines, domestic and foreign, to reschedule their Cochin flights either from Trivandrum or from Calicut," Suresh Prabhu, India's civil aviation minister said on Twitter. "For international flights, this will require special dispensation which has been granted considering the emergency DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) is coordinating," he added. More than one million foreign tourists visited Kerala last year, according to official data.