India's Kerala state on high alert after floods kill 37

India's Kerala state on high alert after floods kill 37
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An Indian man rides his boat next to houses immersed in flood waters in Ernakulam district of Kochi, in the Indian state of Kerala on August 10, 2018. (AFP)
India's Kerala state on high alert after floods kill 37
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Rescue personnel patrol the flooded waters on the banks of Periyar River after the opening of Idamalayar and Cheruthoni dam shutters following heavy rains, on the outskirts of Kochi, August 10,2018. (REUTERS)
India's Kerala state on high alert after floods kill 37
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Roads and houses are engulfed in water following heavy rain and landslide in Kozhikode, Kerala state, India, on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. (AP)
India's Kerala state on high alert after floods kill 37
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In this photo taken on August 9, 2018, water gushes out of Idamalayar dam as shutters of the dam opened with the storage level crossing 169 metre, the full reservoir level near Bhoothathankettu, on the Idamalayar River, a tributary of the Periyar River. (AFP)
India's Kerala state on high alert after floods kill 37
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Photo: (social media)
Updated 12 August 2018

India's Kerala state on high alert after floods kill 37

India's Kerala state on high alert after floods kill 37
  • More than a million foreign tourists visited Kerala last year
  • Hundreds of homes were totally destroyed

NEW DELHI: Flash floods in Kerala have killed 37 people and displaced around 36,000, Indian officials said Saturday, after heavy monsoons led to landslides and overflowing reservoirs across the southern state.
Kerala, famed for its pristine palm-lined beaches and tea plantations, is battered by the monsoon every year but the rains have been particularly severe this season.
Those forced from their homes “have moved to 350 relief camps across the state,” an official at the Kerala State Disaster Management control room told AFP.
The army has been roped in for rescue efforts in Kerala after two days of heavy rain drove authorities to open the shutters of 27 reservoirs to drain out the excess water.
One of the five shutters of a large reservoir in the mountainous Idukki district was opened for the first time in 26 years.
“Our state is in the midst of an unprecedented flood havoc,” Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.
“The calamity has caused immeasurable misery and devastation. Many lives were lost. Hundreds of homes were totally destroyed,” he added, lauding the efforts of rescue teams working in the state from across India.
The US embassy Thursday advised its citizens to avoid the areas affected and monitor local media for weather updates.
More than a million foreign tourists visited Kerala last year, according to official data.
The government of Kerala, which has a population of 33 million people, has imposed a ban on the movement of lorries and tourist vehicles in Idukki.