Kerala floods: Death toll rises to 167

Kochi airport to remain closed till August 26

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said 167 people have died in the state – more than 100 of them in the last 36 hours — and issued a fresh rain alert for the battered state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Kerala, which is grappling with the worst monsoon of the century, this evening. The military has pushed in more than 200 boats. Another four aircraft and three Coast Guard ships have also been brought in to rescue people marooned in areas cut off by vast stretches of water. Rescue efforts have been progressing on a war footing and Mr Vijayan’s office said he had spoken to PM Modi again this morning.

Southern Railways and Kochi Metro have suspended their operations in flood-hit Kerala.  More than 25 trains were cancelled or rescheduled in Kerala on Thursday in view of the unprecedented floods and landslides in the state, said the Southern Railway. The Centre has decided to scale up flood rescue and relief operations in Kerala by deploying additional manpower and equipment.

Kochi airport is to remain closed till August 26. The water level inside the airport complex was rising on Thursday due to continuing heavy rain. The airport was earlier expected to open on Saturday but with the situation not improving, the closure has been extended.

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