Kerala : Monsoon Mayhem

Rain-battered Kerala remained in a state of siege, with officials saying as many as 106 lives were lost the previous day, taking the death toll in floods and landslides to 173 since August 8.

Around 2.23 lakh people from more than 50,000 families are currently homeless and living in 1,568 relief camps across the state.

After two days of incessant downpour, the rain eased a bit on Friday. The Met office said although the overall rainfall in the state was likely to decrease in the next few days, some pockets could continue to get heavy showers.

Although more than 82,000 people were rescued on Friday, with the NDRF, Army, Navy and Coast Guard coordinating their efforts, emergency helplines and social media were flooded with desperate pleas from individuals and groups marooned without food and water.

Nearly all rivers in the state continued to be in spate. Several areas, particularly in Pathanamthitta district, remained marooned with scores of Navy helicopters conducting repeated sorties to evacuate thousands to safety.

Authorities said 1,084 people were airlifted on Friday. Air rescues were the only option for people stranded in inaccessible areas.

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan tweeted that 324 people had so far died of weather-related causes since the start of the monsoon season.

In a WhatsApp video that went viral, a stranded woman with her six-yearold child was seen crying for help: “We have no food or water. Please help us,” she kept pleading. Several other moving images were being circulated, like that of a heavily pregnant woman being airlifted on Friday morning by a Navy rescue team from a water-logged place near Aluva, one of the worst-hit towns in the state. She later gave birth to a baby boy and both mother and child are reportedly safe and sound.

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