Kerala floods: As rainwater recedes, fear of disease outbreak looms

TOPSHOT-INDIA-FLOOD-AVIATION-WEATHER-KERALA

At least a thousand people are still stranded at five villages around Chengannur in flood-hit Kerala, even as the weather office has said heavy rain is likely to subside in the coastal state.

The India Meteorological Department forecast heavy rainfall in only one or two parts of Kerala on Sunday and withdrew a red alert in several districts.

The beaches and backwaters of Kerala are top destinations for domestic and global tourists, but far fewer visit during the monsoon season.

An Indian Navy team made a temporary rope bridge across a stream in Thrissur district on Sunday to rescue 100 people stranded for days.

Vehicles lie abandoned at a auto showroom and service station after flood waters receded at Chalakudi Taulk in Thrissur District, in the south Indian state of Kerala, on August 19, 2018.

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Dozens of people are missing and 1.2 million are sheltering in the camps, state officials said, as water receded and a huge clean-up gathered pace. "But minute by minute the water level began to rise".

"The fisherfolk have played a very remarkable role", said Isaac, Kerala's finance minister.

Authorities are preparing to deal with a possible outbreak of water-borne and air-borne diseases.

The death toll rose on Monday to almost 400 in Kerala, reeling under its worst flood in a century, as authorities handed out medicine and disinfectants to ward off disease in thousands of relief camps.

Kerala residents are shocked to see the state of their homes covered with mud and slush as the water receded. "All our household articles, including the TV and fridge have been destroyed", he told Reuters.

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Kochi's airport is closed owing to water-logging, and Jet Airways has arranged additional flights from Thiruvananthapuram for passengers holding confirmed tickets from Kochi. National carrier Air India, on Monday began flying turboprop planes from the city's naval airport to the cities of Bangalore and Coimbatore in neighbouring states.

During early days of flooding, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said that overall loss caused by the floods was Rs 8,316 crore.

"The only problem is transporting it", he told reporters.

"The central government and public have co-operated well in this effort to fight this disaster".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducted a brief air inspection tour of the state Saturday and announced an immediate grant of $75 million.

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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates, where many Keralites work, has also offered assistance to the state.

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