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324 Dead in India Floods

Rescuers evacuate people from a flooded area to a safer place in Aluva in the southern state of Kerala, India, on August 18.Rescuers evacuate people from a flooded area to a safer place in Aluva in the southern state of Kerala, India, on August 18.

Rescuers have used helicopters and boats to evacuate thousands of people stranded on their rooftops following unprecedented flooding in the southern Indian state of Kerala that killed more than 320 people, officials said.

With heavy rains stopping after a week, rescuers moved quickly to take those marooned by floods to 1,500 state-run camps. They used more than a dozen helicopters and about 400 boats across the state, relief officials said, ABC reported.

The state’s top elected official, Pinarayi Vijayan, told reporters that at least 324 people had died and more than 220,000 had taken refuge in the camps.

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

The New Delhi Television news channel reported that the state was facing a new crisis with some hospitals facing shortages of oxygen and gas stations running short of fuel.

The Red Cross predicts more rains over the weekend. Monsoon rains kill hundreds of people every year in India. The season runs from June to September. The monsoon flooding has severely hit 12 of Kerala’s 14 districts, with thousands of homes damaged since June.

The international airport at Kochi, a major port city, suspended flight operations until Saturday after the runway was flooded.

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