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One million people lose their homes

· Kerala Floods ·

The floods which have been striking India’s southern state of Kerala, killing over 350 people, has subsided for the first time, facilitating emergency efforts. Hundreds of people were rescued by helicopter, from the roofs of their homes where they had taken refuge to flee the devastating floods.

Yesterday, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, flew over the areas most hardly hit, promising 56 million pounds in aid to families. “The nation stands firmly with Kerala in this hour”, he said in a tweet.

During a press conference in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, Lieutenant General D. R. Soni, said that rescue operations had almost been completed and that those who are still trapped by the water, have been located also thanks to the use of drones. Soni reported that the homeless number about one million, displaced in 1,500 makeshift camps set up by the Authorities. The major concern now is the fear of the emergence of epidemics.

Even though the situation remains very serious, Tuesday’s brief reprieve in the monsoon rains, permitted an Air India airplane to land in the secondary airport of Kochin, used by the military. The International airport, one of the busiest in India, remains closed due to flooded runways.

The southern state of Kerala has been experiencing extremely abundant monsoon rains, far heavier than the average seasonal amount, with a worsening in the last month, as the land was by then saturated with water. Of the 1,553 villages in Kerala state, 1,287 of them were struck by the floods. According to official sources, the majority of the victims died as a result of being crushed by the debris caused by the numerous landslides. In addition to the loss of lives, the floods have caused an interruption to access to communication, the destruction of homes, flooding of fields and a halt to production activities. More than 2,000 homes have been completely destroyed since the beginning of the rains and 9,000 have been damaged. Even some areas in Kochi, Kerala’s commercial capital were under water, with streets and railroads being damaged. Schools in Kerala’s 14 districts have been closed and in some districts, tourists were asked to leave the area for their won security.

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