Death toll from Indian floods reaches 147, hundreds of thousands evacuated

by Reuters
Sunday, 11 August 2019 12:31 GMT

An aerial view shows a flooded residential area after heavy rains in Ahmedabad, India, August 10, 2019. REUTERS/Amit Dave

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Authorities fear rescue operations in parts of Kerala could be hit by thunderstorms and more rains

NEW DELHI/BENGALURU, Aug 11 (Reuters) - The death toll from floods in the Indian states of Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra rose to 147, state authorities said on Sunday, as rescue teams raced to evacuate people and waters submerged parts of a world heritage site.

Heavy rain and landslides forced hundreds of thousands of people to take shelter in relief camps, while train services were cancelled in several flood-hit areas.

In the southern state of Kerala, at least 57 people were killed in rain-related incidents while over 165,000 people were in relief camps in the state, state authorities said on Sunday.

"Several houses are still covered under 10-12 feet deep mud. This is hampering rescue work," state chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

Authorities worried that rescue operations would be hit by thunderstorms and rainfall predicted in some parts of Kerala.

Last year, more than 200 people were killed in Kerala and over five million affected in one of worst floods in 100 years in the state.

In Karnataka, several structures at world heritage site Hampi, an ancient town, were flooded.

So far 60 people have died in rain-related incidents, said state chief minister B S Yediyurappa, adding nearly 227,000 people were staying in relief camps.

While Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra have been the worst hit this year, several other states including Gujarat, Assam and Bihar have also seen heavy damage due to floods.

In Maharashtra, where the death toll stood at 30, the flood situation was improving, according to state-run All India Radio, though authorities said it would be difficult to restore rail services in some flood-hit areas within the next two weeks.

India's main opposition Congress party called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide relief packages.

Citing media reports, the Congress party said so far this year 446 people have been killed in six flood-hit states including Assam, Bihar and Gujarat.

"Despite the mammoth loss of lives and displacement caused due to floods, the government is failing to realize the gravity of the flood fury," the Congress party said in a statement on Sunday.

($1 = 71.0200 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Manoj Kumar in New Delhi and Gopakumar Warrier in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexandra Ulmer and Susan Fenton)

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