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Situation in Kerala extremely grim, panic all across the state; Death toll 320

Saturday August 18, 2018 9:36 PM, & Agencies

Kerala Floods

Thiruvananthapuram: Flood hit Kerala continues to remain on edge as the death toll from the fresh onslaught of rain and floods since August 8 has climbed to 320, according to various media reports. Panic rules all across the state and over 3.14 lakh people have been moved to relief camps following the worst flood in 100 years with dams opened and all rivers in spate.

A red alert has been sounded for 11 of the 14 districts of Kerala as the state braces for more rain. As several parts of Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam and Thrissur districts were submerged, people were camped on terraces or higher floors waiting for rescuers.

People all over Kerala, which has a population of 33 million, have made panic-stricken appeals on social media for help, saying they cannot make contact with rescue services. Some say they are trapped inside temples and hospitals as well as submerged homes.

Troops of the Army, Air Force, Navy and the State Disaster Response Force are engaged in an unprecedented rescue and relief operation, as Kerala battles the worst floods in a century. More than 35 helicopters, over 400 boats and many personnel are trying to get those stranded to safety and drop food and water.

Dozens of dam and reservoir gates across Kerala have had to be opened as water levels reach danger levels, inundating many villages.

On the other hand, Chengannur MLA Saji Cherian broke down in a TV studio saying thousands in his constituency would die if the Centre didn’t provide additional aid and send more helicopters.

"The situation is very grim here. Please tell PM Modi to send some helicopters and help us. If not, many people will die... Airlifting is the only way out for us. Please help us, only airlifting will help us," he said.

"We borrowed boats from poor fishermen here, we don't even have enough boats. Water currents are high. Many people have already lost their lives. There is no way out for us here. I beg of you, even our boats have capsized," he added.

Cherian also said the people in the town haven't received a single packet of food.

Meanwhile, authorities have warned of more torrential rain and strong winds over the weekend, as hundreds of troops and local fishermen staged desperate rescue attempts in helicopters and boats across the southern state.

Kerala, popular among international tourists for its tropical hills and beaches, has been battered by record monsoon rainfall this year.

The state is "facing the worst floods in 100 years", chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Twitter, adding that at least 324 lives have been lost so far.

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