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Kerala death toll jumps to 106, 150 000 people homeless in worst floods in nearly 100 years, India

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The death toll from Kerala's worst floods in nearly 100 years has jumped to 106 on August 16, 2018. There are now 1 331 camps opened across the state, providing temporary shelter for 147 000 people. Kerala's Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said August 15 the state is enduring "unprecedented flood havoc" as the worst floods in nearly a century continue taking lives. A red alert is in effect in the entire state.

The worst affected are the state's northern and central regions but all of its 14 districts have been put on alert. All public transport has been stopped with many buses left abandoned on the road, local media report.

More than 10 000 km (6 200 miles) of roads and thousands of cars and homes have been destroyed or damaged. The government has ordered the opening of gates at 34 dams and reservoirs where water levels had reached dangerous levels.

Drinking water crisis is serious in many places, Vijayan said, urging the entire state to work together to help those in need.

The government launched a large-scale rescue operation today to help thousands who remain trapped in their houses.

"At least 6 500 people are stranded in different parts of Kerala and the situation in three districts is particularly grim," a Kerala state disaster management official told AFP today.

Helicopters were sent to airlift stranded families from rooftops and dam gates were thrown open, authorities said.

The government has also mobilized additional army and private boats, as well as fire force boats from Tamil Nadu. "In areas where normal boats cannot access, we will deploy choppers," Vijayan said.

By late afternoon, more than 3 000 people have been rescued, 2 500 from Ernakulam and 580 from Pathanamthitta.

The number of people killed over the past 8 days has risen to 106, including 39 who died on August 15 and 16.

With more rainfall forecast by IMD for August 17 and 18, the Chief Minister advised people to be cautious and asked them not to spread and fall for wrong information.

"Action will be taken against people who spread wrong information," he said.

Featured image credit: Rescue operations in Kerala on August 16, 2018. Credit: ADG PI – Indian Army

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