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Floods in southern India kill 164 as survivors evacuated from rooftops

Rescue workers used helicopters and boats to move hundreds of people stranded on rooftops following unprecedented flooding that has led to the deaths of over 160 people in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

More than 150,000 people have been forced to take shelter in temporary camps

Flood victims are evacuated to safer areas in Kozhikode in the southern Indian state of Kerala on Thursday. Flooding, landslides and bridge collapses have killed dozens of people in the past week, officials say. (K. Shijith/Associated Press)

Rescue workers used helicopters and boats to move hundreds of people stranded on rooftops following unprecedented flooding that has led to the deaths of over 160 people in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

With torrential rains stopping on Friday, thousands of rescuers worked quickly to shift the marooned people to 1,200 state-run camps where more than 150,000 people already have taken shelter.

Heavy rains over the past eight days triggered flooding, landslides, and home and road bridge collapses, severely disrupting air and train services in Kerala state, a popular tourist destination with beautiful beaches.

State officials have put the death toll since Aug. 8 at 164.

Monsoon rains kill hundreds of people every year in India. The season runs from June to September.

Torrential rains, flooding causing 164 deaths force 200,000 into relief camps in Indian state of Kerala 0:55

The monsoon flooding has severely hit 12 of Kerala's 14 districts, affecting the lives of more than 200,000 people with hundreds of homes damaged since June. Crops across 325 square kilometres of land have also been damaged, the Home Ministry said.

The international airport at Kochi, a major port city, has suspended flight operations until Saturday after the runway was flooded, which also prompted authorities to ask tourists to stay away from the popular hill station of Munnar in Idukki district.

An aerial view shows partially submerged houses and a church in Kerala on Friday. (Sivaram V/Reuters)

India's National Emergency Response Centre said more than 800 people have lost their lives in seven states since the start of the monsoon season in June, including this breakdown reported by the Press Trust of India:

  • 247 in Kerala.
  • 190 in Uttar Pradesh.
  • 183 in West Bengal.
  • 139 in Maharashtra.
  • 52 in Gujarat.
  • 45 in Assam.
  • 11 in Nagaland state.