Kerala Flood Washes Away Everything

The India Meteorological Department has removed a red weather alert from all districts, though some areas are still under water.

India’s air force and navy helicopters are airlifting stranded people from rooftops, and dropping food supplies to those they cannot yet reach.

More than 350 people have died in the floods. Thousands remain marooned.

Officials said rescue teams are focused on the riverside town of Chengannur, where as many as 5,000 are feared to be trapped.

A local politician, Saji Cherian, broke down in tears on TV on Friday describing the crisis there. “Please give us a helicopter. I am begging you. Please help me, people in my place will die. Please help us. There is no other solution, people have to be airlifted,” he said.

Hundreds of government boats have been set out across Kerala to aid the rescue. The BBC’s Yogita Limaye, in Kerala, says the coastal state’s many fishermen are providing valuable support, using their own boats to help the relief mission.

As of Saturday, mobile operators are offering free data and text messages for people in Kerala to help those in distress.

Entire villages have been lost to landslides, and soldiers are now clearing the debris and building temporary bridges to help restore transport links.

More than 200,000 families have taken refuge in the camps, an official at the Kerala State Disaster Management office said.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi surveyed the state from the air on Saturday and has promised a relief fund of 5bn Indian rupees.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday spoke to Kerala CM Shri Pinarayi Vijayan and discussed the situation arising due to floods in various parts of the state. The Prime Minister offered all possible assistance to those affected by flash flood destabilize normal life in the affected areas. PM Modi said, “We stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Kerala in the wake of this calamity.”

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As monsoon rains continue in the state, the situation is becoming worse as the water level in rivers, reservoirs in Kerala continue to rise. Ahead of the inauguration of the Idukki reservoir, a third warning was issued earlier in the day to maintain the water level. On Thursday, one of the gates of the dam will be inaugurated.