The worst floods in a century in the Indian state of Kerala have killed 164 people and forced more than 200,000 into relief camps, officials said on Friday.
A truck carries people past a flooded road in Thrissur, in the southern Indian state of Kerala, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018.
Heavy rain continued in parts of south and central Kerala on Saturday morning even as the state reels under unprecedented floods that have left over 150 dead in the past three days.
India's largest bank has also announced relief measures to support the flood affected people: Xpress credit to existing account holders with relaxed norms (for one month's consumption), and deployment of cash @ PoS to meet daily cash requirements across the state (customers will be able to avail of Rs 2,000 to meet expenses for basic needs).
Torrential rains in Kerala have triggered the state's worst flooding in almost a century, destroying thousands of homes and roads.
The southwestern state is home to 33 million people and popular with worldwide tourists for its tropical hills and beaches. Mr. Modi also announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh per person to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs. 50,000 to those seriously injured from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund, a statement from the Prime Minister's Office said.
Modi undertook an aerial survey of flood affected districts along with Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, governor P Sathasivam and Union minister K J Alphons.
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Officials pleaded for more help as the stranded people were waiting to be rescued. This comes off as a very inspiring story to everybody and needless to say it will encourage people to give the maximum they could to Kerala.
"This is really heartbreaking because, I mean, there is water everywhere", Mr Singh said.
With most of its rivers in spate and dams opened, several areas across four districts have been flooded and people are marooned with no food and water for days now. We urgently need food, medicines, water.
Mobile phone operators have been offering free data and SMS messages across Kerala since Saturday to assist with distress calls. A total of 407 people have died in Kerala, 190 in Uttar Pradesh, 183 people in West Bengal, 139 in Maharashtra, 52 in Gujarat, 45 in Assam and 11 in Nagaland state, officials and the Press Trust of India news agency reported. Initial storm damage estimates were almost $2.8 billion, Vijayan said.
North and central Kerala have been worst-hit by the floods, with the worldwide airport in the main city of Kochi shut until at least August 26.
Over 300 people have died in Kerala since the monsoon started in June, including over 170 since torrential rains began in August.