Sat, Aug 10, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Tens of thousands evacuated due to flooding in India

Reuters, BENGALURU and MUMBAI, India

Indian Army personnel rescue people stranded in floodwaters after heavy rainfall on the outskirts of Sangli in Maharashtra state on Thursday.

Photo: AFP

Torrential monsoon rains in the southern Indian state of Kerala caused a major landslide and flooding that has cut off some areas, forcing the evacuation of more than 22,000 people, authorities said yesterday.

Flooding also forced authorities to halt all operations at Cochin International Airport, the busiest airport in Kerala.

The airport on the banks of the Periyar river is to be shut until at least 3pm tomorrow, officials said.

The landslide in the hilly district of Munnar was major, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Twitter, adding that authorities were exploring all possible rescue methods.

“All arrangements have been put in place to deal with the disaster,” Vijayan said.

Indian media reported that at least two people were killed in the landslide, at least 70 houses were destroyed and that dozens more people were still feared trapped.

There were also reports that at least 20 people were killed due to rainfall in Kerala over the past two days.

Kerala was in August last year hit by devastating floods that killed more than 200 people and affected more than 5 million.

Those floods, dubbed the worst to hit the state in nearly a century, caused billions of dollars of damage to fields, homes and other infrastructure.

Seasonal monsoon rains from June to September cause deaths and mass displacement across South Asia every year, but they also deliver more than 70 percent of India’s rainfall and are crucial for farm output and economic growth.

Heavy rains have also caused flooding and devastation in the western states of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka this week.

At least 35 people were killed in the three states this week due to rainfall and more than 200,000 have been evacuated, officials said.

Hundreds of villages and a few towns in the affected regions of Maharashtra do not have electricity or drinking water, a state government official said, adding that authorities were trying to restore electricity in some areas.

Fuel was also scarce, because some districts had been cut off from the rest of the state, the official said.

Schools and colleges in many parts of western and southern India have been shut since Monday and are unlikely to open this week, authorities have said.

Milk and vegetable supplies to India’s financial hub, Mumbai, yesterday dropped significantly, because many of the affected districts in Maharashtra that have been cut off are major suppliers.

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