Thursday, August 22, 2019 | ePaper
Fresh flood alert in southern India as monsoon death toll hits 244
AFP, New Delhi :
Residents are being evacuated from their home to a safer place following floods warnings, on a wooden boat in Kochi in the Indian state of Kerala.
India issued Wednesday a fresh flood alert for parts of the southern state of Kerala, as the nationwide death toll from the annual monsoon deluge rose to at least 209.
Authorities warned Kerala locals of heavy to extremely heavy rainfall over the next 24-48 hours in some of the worst affected regions of the state popular with tourists.
Heavy rains in parts of four Indian states - Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat - have forced more than 1.2 million people to leave their homes, mostly for government-run relief camps.
Kerala was hit by its worst floods in almost a century last year, and is still recovering from the extensive loss of life and damage to public infrastructure including highways, railways and roads.
Around 450 people lost their lives in Kerala in 2018.
The death toll this monsoon season in the state increased to 95 overnight and at least 59 people were missing, Kerala police told AFP on Wednesday.
At least 48 people have also lost their lives in neighbouring Karnataka state, where authorities have also rescued around 677,000 people from flooded regions.
Local media have also reported 66 deaths in the western states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, with hundreds of thousands rescued from inundated regions.
India has also deployed the army, navy and air force to work with the local emergency personnel for search, rescue and relief operations in the flooded regions.
The monsoon rains are crucial to replenishing water supplies in drought-stricken India, but they kill hundreds of people across the country every year.
Meanwhile, an Asian News International, ANI, report on Sunday said at least 11 people have lost their lives in the western state of Gujarat in the last 48 hour as incessant rains wreaked havoc in the state.
Rescue operation to evacuate people to a safer place is underway. So far, around 6,000 people have been moved to safety.
A policeman from the state received praise for his bravery and kindness. He carried two children on his shoulders for over 1.5 kilometres to rescue them from the floodwaters in Kalyanpur village of Morbi district in Gujarat.
Pruthviraj Jadeja, the policeman, braved fierce current floodwaters and strong winds to save the children, and received praise from the State Chief Minister Vijay Rupani who shared the video and lauded the officer on Twitter.
In the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, due to unrelenting rains, Thal-Munsiyari Road near Banik has been shut on Sunday after boulders and debris blocked the road.
Earlier on Sunday, in another incident, a huge boulder fell on the road and blocked the portion of the national highway-125 between Dharchula and Tawaghat in the state.