Rains return to India's Kerala state, hampering rescue efforts

80% of Animals Were Killed in Recent Kerala Floods, But Rescuers Are Determined to Help Any Survivors They Can

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the priority now was to provide clean drinking water and restore power supplies to the state of 33 million people.

Heavy rains over the past eight days triggered flooding, landslides and home and bridge collapses, severely disrupting air and train services in Kerala state, a popular tourist destination with scenic landscapes, waterfalls and handsome beaches.

Sewa International, an Indian non-profit organisation in America, has raised over Dollars 10,000 for the flood relief operations in the deluge-hit Kerala.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was taken by helicopter over inundated farmland and villages, promised more helicopters, boats and other equipment needed to expand the rescue operation in the still unfolding emergency. Landslides have also contributed to the death toll. Floodwater has started receding in some areas. The money from the sales will be donated to the Kerala chief minister's relief fund.

Rescuers in a motorboat reached a hamlet where they tried in vain to persuade an 80-year-old woman, Bhavani Yamma, to be taken to a government-run shelter from her partially submerged single-story house.

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"Teams have come from Bengaluru, communication and life jackets from Pune", he said referring to the logistical nightmare in tackling the situation. He said the situation in Chalakudy and Chengannur is the worst.

Heavy rain is likely to subside today in the flood-hit state, the weather office has said, though light rain has been forecast at least till Saturday. At least 220 bridges have been damaged and 59 are still under water, officials said. More than 7 lakh people have been displaced by the worst natural calamity the state has witnessed in a century.

Officials estimate that more than 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) of roads have been damaged. Airlines operating from Muscat to Kochi said that the scheduled flights between Muscat and Kochi will now operate to Trivandrum Airport until August 26. As per initial reports, the state has suffered a loss of over Rs 19,000 crore and over 350 people have been killed so far due to flood-related incidents.

The state chief minister has requested more funding as well as 20 more helicopters and 600 motorised boats in order to step up the rescue efforts.

Officials have put initial storm damage estimates at almost $3 billion.

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One of his advisers, Prabha Varma, told Reuters 186 people had died since August 8, when the waters began to rise.

Authorities and the military, on Monday, stepped up rescue and relief efforts in the flood-ravaged India's state of Kerala where an estimated 6,000 people remained stranded in the worst-hit areas.

While social media has been abuzz with people asking the government to give fishermen in Kerala their due, one video caught everyone's attention.

Flaying the state for "failing in the endeavour", Leader of Opposition Chennithala said: "I have been flooded with calls from the affected persons".

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