Flooding in southern Indian state kills more than 350, displaces 800,000


The death toll from the worst flooding to hit India's Kerala state in a century has jumped to 357, authorities have said.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said that the state government would provide financial assistance of Rs 10 crore to flood affected people and for rescue operations in Kerala.

She lives in the town of Chengannur in Alappuzha district.

"Everyone that we know is safe, but a lot of people are suffering for the food and the drinkable water", Abraham said, adding that he will return to India later this year to take care of his family.

About 6,000 people were awaiting rescue amid landslides and torrents of water while more than 300,000 sheltered in relief camps, authorities said. Crops in over 40,000 hectares have been destroyed, they said.

The CPM leader thanked the Centre, other states, companies and individuals who had chipped in and volunteered to participate in the rescue and relief effort.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter Saturday that he sends his deepest condolences to those affected, and a spokesperson for Global Affairs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Thousands of army, navy and air force troops have fanned out across Kerala to assist as distress calls sound out across the idyllic tourist hotspot.

A lawmaker in Pathanamthitta district, some 25 kilometers away, said some 10,000 people were stranded there, and were in grave danger unless they were rescued urgently.

Drinking water is being brought in by train and helicopters have been dropping emergency food and water supplies.

The rain will continue until Saturday, according to a fresh alert.

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In Vatican City on Sunday, Pope Francis held a moment of silence during his noontime blessing to pray for Kerala flood victims.

"Our solidarity and the concrete support of the global community should not lack for our brothers", said Pope Francis on Sunday.

People all over the state of 33 million have made panicked appeals on social media for help, saying they can not make contact with rescue services as power and communication lines are down.

In Mala, desperate villagers had to improvise as the floodwaters rose, using kitchen pots as rafts to reach their stricken neighbours.

There have been moments of cheer amid the tragedy.

The rains from the '99 disaster remain the highest ever recorded in the country and most parts of Kerala were under water.

IMD Director General K J Ramesh said red has been lifted in Kerala for first time since 9th of this month. IMD has predicted no possibility of heavy rains in the state.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates, where many Keralites work, has also offered assistance to the state, reported Reuters.

Officials have put initial storm damage estimates at almost $3 billion.

Although the Congress had raised the demand that the entire rescue operation should have been left to the armed forces and there were several glitches and slippages in the rescue effort, the Chief Minister had refused to be drawn into the debate.