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Indians begin massive cleanup as rains diminish in Kerala

21 August 2018

With the sun finally out in the sky, Kerala is gearing up to pick up the pieces after torrential rains and resultant floods left the state devastated killing hundreds of people and leaving a trail of destruction. The death toll has risen to almost 400 while many still wait for rescue. The authorities also withdrew the red alert issued in the last of the three districts: Idukki, Ernakulam and Pathanamthitta.

Train services resume The train services in Kayankulam-Kottayam-Ernakulam and Palakkad-Shoranur-Kozhikkode sections have been resumed.

Commercial flight operations to Kochi, the state's main city, resumed Monday after the navy opened its airstrips for small passenger aircraft. It is scheduled to remain closed until August 26.

The floods have caused damage worth $2.8 billion so far, according to a tweet from Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The disaster has claimed at least 230, with 13 more deaths reported on Sunday.

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He did, however, appeal to neighboring state of Tamil Nadu to draw more water from the reservoir behind the dam, which has risen to its maximum safe level of 142 ft. A relief camp in Ala shelters more than 900 people where people can not go back to their homes for at least another five to six days.

Thummarukudy predicted a flood disaster in Kerala in a 2013 article that called for changes in land use.

The flood situation in southern Indian state of Kerala is turning increasingly grim with rising casualties and displacements. Government to prepare a comprehensive health action programme to prevent the outbreak of any water borne diseases.

"We can not venture out of our homes ... there is no guarantee to come back as you may face flash floods and landslides any time", said one farmer. The United Nations' World Health Organisation (WHO) has sent a 13-member team to Kerala, while India's health ministry has said it has set up medical centres in numerous relief camps.

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Lakes and wetlands that soak up floods have disappeared, and new concrete buildings concentrate excess water in certain areas and make it harder to drain away. Dozens of helicopters have been dropping tonnes of food, medicine and water over areas cut off due to damaged roads and bridges.

Reporting from Mumbai, NPR's Lauren Frayer says that, "tens of thousands of people have been rescued from flooded homes. but many more are stranded". The 65-year-old, who has been living with his family at a relief camp for more than a week, returned briefly to his nearby home Monday to find it uninhabitable and without drinking water or electricity.

According to the union minister for tourism, KJ Alphons, who is from Kerala, what the state urgently needs now is technical assistance to re-start life.

Skilled professionals, cooked food needed State authorities made an appeal to skilled workers like plumbers, electricians and carpenters to come to the state to make homes livable. Carpentry, plumbing would be gone.

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Indians begin massive cleanup as rains diminish in Kerala