1m evacuated, at least 184 dead as monsoon floods sweep India

NEW DELHI • The Indian authorities have moved about a million people into emergency camps in recent days, as the death toll from monsoon floods jumped yesterday 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," Mr Pramod Kumar, Kerala police spokesman, said.

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

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

"We have evacuated over 580,000 people," said a senior Karnataka government official.

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.

Members of India's National Disaster Response Force evacuating a child while other residents waited for their turn in the flood-hit area of Sangli in Maharashtra state on Sunday.
Members of India's National Disaster Response Force evacuating a child while other residents waited for their turn in the flood-hit area of Sangli in Maharashtra state on Sunday. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

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

Sunday's death toll from floods in Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra states was 147, according to the respective authorities.

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 about 450 people killed.

 
 

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2019, with the headline '1m evacuated, at least 184 dead as monsoon floods sweep India'. Print Edition | Subscribe