Kerala floods: Death toll touches 57; 1.5 lakh shifted to relief camps

Cochin airport closed as water enters taxiway

Rail, road and air transport took a hit in the state with several trains being cancelled and the Cochin International Airport shut till August 11 due to waterlogging in nearly 60 per cent region of its operational area.

Airport Operations suspended till midnight as a precautionary measure, he told reporters.

At least 22 people have died in the southern Indian state of Kerala after torrential monsoon rains caused landslides and flooding that cut off some areas, authorities said on Friday.

At least 48 people have died since Thursday in floods in Kerala, where the beaches and hill resorts are a major worldwide tourist magnet, state police spokesman Pramod Kumar told AFP. Officials said "Red Alert" has been issued in Ernakulam, Idukki, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Kannur districts, denoting that the regions will receive very heavy to extremely heavy rainfall.

The district has lost access to all basic amenities such as drinking water, power supply, cooking gas cylinder and petrol for running vehicles, Lathe said. Teams of the Territorial Army, Navy and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were conducting rescue operations in Kolhapur and Sangli, the official said.

Vijayan said there is more water in the state than brought by the rains as bordering rivers in Karnataka are also swelling. Landslides were reported near Maranahalli in Sakaleshpur, said official sources.

In neighbouring Karnataka, at least 24 people have been killed with nine people missing. In the report, experts cite possible explanation from dam authorities (state governments in both states) and raise questions to those explanations.

"We have retrieved three bodies from the area".

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Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan warned: "Tomorrow also there will be severe rains".

Some 42 people died in southwestern Kerala and over 100,000 affected people have been evacuated, the central government's disaster management cell said, after 80 landslides hit the state in two days.

The rescue teams left for Sangli on Thursday night by road in state transport vehicles after their airlift was aborted because of unfavourable conditions in Sangli and adjoining Kolhapur, another flood-hit district, a defence spokesperson said in a statement.

The Chief Minister earlier said water levels in most of the dams in the state have reached only half the maximum storage level. So far, 2,52,813 people have been rescued.

"The rains have eased in the region and we think the water will soon start to recede".

A total of 1,32,360 people from 28,397 families have been evacuated from these districts, it stated.

Train services have also been disrupted due to flooding and trees falling on rail tracks.

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