The death toll from severe flooding that hit Kerala, India increased to 164 people. More than 200 thousand people were forced to evacuate to refugee camps due to floods triggered by heavy rain since last week.
As reported by Reuters and AFP, Friday (08/17/2018), flood victims have not been able to breathe a sigh of relief due to heavy rain that continues to flush to make the water levels of local rivers and dams continue to rise.
“The chief minister confirmed 164 deaths. About 100 people were killed in the past 36 hours,” a public relations department official at Kerala government office told AFP.
The Kerala government called this natural disaster ‘extraordinarily serious’. Kerala’s Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, expects the military to increase rescue efforts, even though they have deployed dozens of helicopters and hundreds of boats.
“I spoke with the Minister of Defense this morning and asked for more helicopters,” Vjayan said at a press conference. “In some areas, air evacuation is the only option … thousands of people are still trapped,” he added.
This flood in Kerala began nine days ago. Vijayan called this flood also triggered landslides in some of these areas. About 223 thousand people were forced to evacuate to at least 1,568 refugee camps spread in Kerala.
Kerala is a major tourist destination, both for domestic and foreign tourists. Airports in the main city of Kochi, Kerala were also hit by floods. As a result, airport operations were forced to stop until 26 August, with local flights being diverted to two other local airports.
Prime Minister (PM) India Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit flood-affected areas on Friday (17/8) local time. The Office of the Chief Minister of Kerala released a new warning on Friday (17/8) local time, which said that heavy rain was expected to still flush a number of areas until the weekend.
“Warning: All districts except Kasargod are under a red warning … heavy rains may affect these 13 districts. All please be vigilant,” warned the 33 million Kerala residents.