World

New flood alert in India as death toll hits 209

NEW DELHI: India issued a fresh flood alert yesterday for parts of the southern state of Kerala, as the nationwide death toll from the annual monsoon deluge rose to at least 209.

The authorities warned that Kerala would get heavy to extremely heavy rainfall over the next 24 to 48 hours in some of the worst affected regions.

Heavy rains in parts of four Indian states - Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat - have forced more than 1.2 million people to leave their homes, and mostly move to government-run relief camps.

Kerala was hit by its worst floods in almost a century last year, and is still recovering from the extensive loss of life and damage to public infrastructure including highways, railways and roads.

Around 450 people lost their lives in the state in last year's floods.

The death toll for this monsoon season in the state has risen to 95 and at least 59 people were missing, Kerala police said yesterday.

At least 48 people have lost their lives in neighbouring Karnataka state, where authorities have rescued some 677,000 people from flooded regions.

Local media have also reported 66 deaths in the western states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, with hundreds of thousands rescued.

India has also deployed the army, navy and air force to work with the local emergency personnel for search, rescue and relief operations.

The monsoon rains are crucial to replenishing water supplies in drought-stricken India, but kill hundreds of people every year. - AFP

WORLD