Floods caused by monsoon rains in southern and western India killed at least 144 people, Indian authorities said on Sunday (August 12th). Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated.

The state of Kerala, a tourist region in southern India, is among the hardest hit areas, with a provisional toll of 67 deaths. "At least 165,000 people have been transferred to more than 1,318 relief camps scattered in fourteen districts of the state," a senior Kerala police official told AFP.

Difficult rescue operations

Bad weather and damaged infrastructure made rescue operations more difficult, he added. Emergency rescue teams, navy and air force personnel have contributed to operations throughout the weather-stricken areas.

In the neighboring state of Karnataka, the provisional toll is 34 deaths. "At least 14 other people are still missing," said a local government official. "We have rescued around 480,000 people, more than 50,000 animals and settled about 1,100 camps that shelter more than 300,000 people."

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"An unprecedented situation"

At least 136 roads and highways in the state have been damaged or cut by floods, said the official. Rainfall has eased in the state of Maharashtra in western India, but some reservoirs in the region have received record amounts of water.

"This is an unprecedented situation," added the manager. "We expect the flows to decrease in four to five days if it does not rain anymore." At least 27 people were killed in Maharashtra, where several major cities have been flooded for several days, according to the press.

Accidents caused by heavy rains in Gujarat, the home state of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in western India, killed at least 16 people.

Every year, monsoon rains are expected to replenish water supplies, but they also cost the lives of hundreds of people.

With AFP