Flash floods kill 37 in India's tourist hotspot Kerala

Those forced from their homes have moved to 350 relief camps across the state


Afp August 11, 2018
Local residents look at a partially destroyed house after heavy monsoon rains led to a landslide in Kannappankund, in the Indian state of Kerala on August 11, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI: Flash floods in Kerala have killed 37 people and displaced around 36,000, Indian officials said on Saturday, after heavy monsoons led to landslides and overflowing reservoirs across the southern state.

Kerala, famed for its pristine palm-lined beaches and tea plantations, is battered by the monsoon every year but the rains have been particularly severe this season.

Kerala is battered by the annual monsoon every year but the rains have been particularly severe this season. PHOTO: AFP Kerala is battered by the annual monsoon every year but the rains have been particularly severe this season. PHOTO: AFP

Those forced from their homes "have moved to 350 relief camps across the state", an official at the Kerala State Disaster Management control room said.

The army has been roped in for rescue efforts in Kerala after two days of heavy rain drove authorities to open the shutters of 27 reservoirs to drain out the excess water.

Flash floods kill 27 in south India

One of the five shutters of a large reservoir in the mountainous Idukki district was opened for the first time in 26 years.



Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.

"The calamity has caused immeasurable misery and devastation. Many lives were lost. Hundreds of homes were totally destroyed," he added, lauding the efforts of rescue teams working in the state from across India.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan (L) along with opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala (2L) visit a relief camp in Chengamanadu Government Higher Secondary School (HSS) in Ernakulam district of Kochi, in the Indian state of Kerala on August 11, 2018. PHOTO: AFP Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan (L) along with opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala (2L) visit a relief camp in Chengamanadu Government Higher Secondary School (HSS) in Ernakulam district of Kochi, in the Indian state of Kerala on August 11, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

The US embassy on Thursday advised its citizens to avoid the areas affected and monitor local media for weather updates.

More than a million foreign tourists visited Kerala last year, according to official data.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan (L) along with opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala (2L) visit relief camp in Chengamanadu. PHOTO: AFP Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan (L) along with opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala (2L) visit relief camp in Chengamanadu. PHOTO: AFP

The government of Kerala, which has a population of 33 million people, has imposed a ban on the movement of lorries and tourist vehicles in Idukki.

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