Kerala floods: At least 324 dead as rescue teams take to the air

At least 324 people have died in the Indian state of Kerala since the start of monsoon season in late May, o...

Posted: Aug 18, 2018 7:54 PM
Updated: Aug 18, 2018 7:54 PM

At least 324 people have died in the Indian state of Kerala since the start of monsoon season in late May, officials said Friday.

In just the past 10 days, flash floods and landslides have killed 164 people in the southern state, authorities said earlier Friday, as torrential monsoon rains continued to batter Kerala. Half of those deaths have occurred in the past three days, State Relief Commissioner P.H. Kurian told CNN.

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The flooding is the worst Kerala has experienced in nearly a century.

The death toll has steadily risen over the past week as rescue workers scramble to reach thousands of people stranded by floodwater. The army, navy and coast guard have been sent in to assist, and fisherman have been asked to help with rescue efforts.

Thirteen of Kerala's 14 districts remain under a red alert, the highest warning level issued during emergencies in India, according to the country's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), which has deployed 53 teams across the state.

On Friday, a heavily pregnant woman was rescued by helicopter from the rooftop of her flooded home in Aluva, one of the worst-hit areas, according to Indian Navy spokesman DK Sharma.

Sajitha Jabil, 25, whose water had already broken when she was airlifted to safety, delivered a baby boy in the hospital two hours later, Sharma told CNN.

Kurian is hopeful that the weather will soon improve. "The rain will let up by tomorrow," he said Friday. "Areas will still be inundated but we will have some relief."

Over a thousand personnel from military and disaster authorities are now involved in the rescue mission. Meanwhile, over 100,000 people have been forced to seek shelter in relief camps, Rekha Nambiyar, senior commandant in India's National Disaster Response Force, told CNN.

Search and rescue efforts have been further complicated by limited transport; railway tracks and roads are too flooded to use, and operations at the international airport in the city of Kochi have been suspended until Saturday.

Rescue teams have taken to the air instead. Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala's chief minister, tweeted on Thursday asking residents to "stand in open areas on top of buildings and houses" to be airlifted, and said lifeboats and life jackets would be airdropped.

The Indian Ministry of Defense has deployed 158 boats and 23 helicopters since August 9.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had asked the defense ministry to step up relief and rescue operations, announced Friday that he would visit Kerala that evening to "take stock of the unfortunate situation."

Monsoon rains are to be expected in India this time of the year. But after days of abnormally heavy rains, 34 of the state's 40 dams reached full capacity and were opened to release water in an effort to prevent potentially disastrous breaches, officials said today.

"There was a 40-50% excess of monsoon rains this year and because of the incessant rains, there have been landslides and entire areas inundated under water," said Nambiyar of the NDRF.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has reported that heavy rains are expected to continue until Saturday.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319948

Reported Deaths: 7371
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22285267
Hinds20719421
Harrison18431317
Rankin13901282
Jackson13718248
Madison10263224
Lee10059176
Jones8467167
Forrest7832153
Lauderdale7261242
Lowndes6517150
Lamar635188
Lafayette6313121
Washington5425137
Bolivar4841133
Panola4670110
Oktibbeha466198
Pearl River4605147
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
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Monroe4157135
Union415777
Neshoba4063179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386987
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3371111
Alcorn327272
Scott320374
Yazoo314171
Adams308086
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298589
Tippah291968
Prentiss284161
Leake272074
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264642
Grenada264087
George252251
Newton248663
Tishomingo231868
Winston230181
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190474
Stone188433
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164134
Walthall135347
Greene131834
Lawrence131124
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127238
Amite126242
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108234
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548657

Reported Deaths: 11306
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810031566
Mobile42105831
Madison35690525
Tuscaloosa26173458
Shelby25607254
Montgomery25081614
Baldwin21868314
Lee16278176
Calhoun14719327
Morgan14629285
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Marshall12453230
Houston10781287
Elmore10293214
Limestone10179157
St. Clair10162251
Cullman9952201
Lauderdale9603250
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Talladega8460184
Walker7338280
Autauga7241113
Blount6945139
Jackson6932113
Colbert6413140
Coffee5635127
Dale4928116
Russell454841
Chilton4476116
Franklin431382
Covington4275122
Tallapoosa4138155
Escambia401680
Chambers3728124
Dallas3607158
Clarke353061
Marion3240107
Pike314378
Lawrence3133100
Winston283472
Bibb268564
Geneva257981
Marengo250565
Pickens236962
Barbour234559
Hale227278
Butler224271
Fayette218862
Henry194543
Randolph187544
Cherokee187345
Monroe180041
Washington170539
Macon163051
Clay160059
Crenshaw155957
Cleburne153444
Lamar146837
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124342
Conecuh113630
Coosa111729
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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We will see the rainfall move out of our area overnight as a cold front moves through our area. We will see high pressure move into our area for a few days as we to through our Tuesday and Wednesday. However, more rainfalll in the forecast later in the week.
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