324 dead and thou­sands home­less as worst flood­ing in 100 years hits In­dia

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

At least 324 peo­ple have died and more than 223,000 peo­ple have been ren­dered home­less and placed in re­lief camps af­ter the worst floods in a cen­tury hit Ker­ala in In­dia.

Since the mon­soon be­gan at the end of May, the state of Ker­ala has re­ceived 37% ex­cess rain water. In some parts it has been in ex­cess of 84%.

The un­prece­dented rains have led to 37 of the 42 dams in the state run­ning over the dan­gers mark, with gates be­ing opened to drain ex­cess water from catch­ment ar­eas. The wa­ters re­leased caused the rivers to flood the ad­join­ing ar­eas.

Hun­dreds of mil­i­tary per­son­nel from the army, navy, air force and coast guard have been pressed into res­cue and re­lief op­er­a­tions. They are be­ing sup­ported by hun­dreds from the Na­tional Disas­ter Re­sponse Force. Air force he­li­copters have been res­cu­ing many from re­mote places.

Emer­gency ser­vices have been over­whelmed by the flood­ing, and lo­cal fish­er­men have come in to help, us­ing their boats in ur­ban ar­eas to de­liver re­lief ma­te­rial to those stuck.

Dam­age to the roads and high­ways is ham­per­ing re­lief op­er­a­tions while land­slides have caused block­age. The rail net­works have also been af­fected badly with many trains be­ing can­celled.

Food, medicines and es­sen­tial sup­plies are in short­age, par­tic­u­larly in re­mote ar­eas.

Schools have been closed and some dis­tricts have banned tourists, cit­ing safety con­cerns

The In­dian Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Depart­ment said heavy rains will con­tinue, but the in­ten­sity has less­ened slightly.

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