More than 170 dead as monsoon floods hit India

About 300,000 people take shelter in 1,500 state-run relief camps

An Indian woman watches residents walking through flooded streets next to their marooned houses on the outskirts of Kozhikode district. Photograph: Getty Images

An Indian woman watches residents walking through flooded streets next to their marooned houses on the outskirts of Kozhikode district. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Thousands of stranded people are waiting for rescue as relentless monsoon floods batter the south Indian state of Kerala.

More than 170 people have died in a little over a week and much of the state is at least partially submerged.

More than 300,000 people have taken shelter in 1,500 state-run relief camps, officials said, but authorities and local media outlets said they were being inundated with calls for assistance.

“We are receiving multiple repetetitive rescue requests,” the office of the state’s top official, Pinarayi Vijayan, said in a tweet, asking those in need to provide their exact location, landmarks and the number of stranded people when they call for help.

Heavy rains since August 8 have triggered floods and landslides and caused homes and bridges to collapse across Kerala, a famously picturesque state known for its quiet tropical backwaters and beautiful beaches.

Many roads and railways have been shut, and one of the state’s major airports, in the city of Kochi, has also closed.

Prime minister Narendra Modi met the state’s top officials on Saturday. While the central government has dispatched multiple military units to Kerala, state officials are pleading for additional help.

“Please ask Modi to give us helicopters, give us helicopters — please, please!” state legislator Saji Cherian said on a Kerala-based TV news channel, the Indian Express newspaper reported.

More than 300 people have died in Kerala since the monsoon started in June, including 170 since torrential rains began in August.

More than 1,000 people have died in seven Indian states since the start of the monsoon season. – PA