The death toll in India’s southern state of Kerala rose on Aug. 20 to nearly 400 after its worst floods in a century, as authorities handed out medicine and disinfectants to ward off disease in thousands of relief camps.
Dozens are missing and 1.2 million are sheltering in the camps, state officials said, as water receded and a huge clean-up gathered pace.
“The death toll has risen to 373,” an official of the state’s disaster management authority said.
Kerala saw more than 40 percent more rainfall than normal for the monsoon season, which runs from June to September. Torrential rain in the last 10 days forced officials to release water from dozens of dangerously full dams.
The Indian government classified the floods as a “calamity of severe nature.” Kerala wants the federal government to call it a national disaster, which would likely prompt greater commitments of funds for relief and rebuilding efforts.
However, getting national disaster classification would be unlikely, state officials involved with disaster management said. (Reuters)