The southern Indian state of Kerala is experiencing the worst flooding in nearly a century. As of Saturday, there were still tens of thousands of people waiting to be rescued. They have been pushed from their homes, and many are taking refuge on rooftops to wait for help.
This year has been particularly bad when it comes to flooding, and the region is seeing far more than their average rainfall. Where Kerala usually sees up to a 70 percent increase during the wet season, they’ve experienced rain that was a staggering 450 percent over the average. This has resulted in mass flooding, terrible destruction, and a devastating loss of life.
According to the Guardian, there are mixed reports regarding the death toll, with Kerala’s chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, claiming numbers as high as 345. Meanwhile, the emergency control room is reporting under 200. Flash floods and landslides killed many of these people, with others dying due to other incidents caused by the heavy rainfall.
Currently, there are more than 1,500 relief camps, but authorities say that the camps are very crowded and are in desperate need of supplies. With over 300,000 people residing in these camps, the threat of illness and starvation is a serious one. There has even been a call for sanitary products like diapers to prevent infection.
However, these camps only make up a fraction of the victims. Over 82,000 rescuer operations have been sent out to help trapped civilians, but the progress has been extremely slow. Rainfall and darkness makes it difficult to maneuver the dangers of the flood, so rescuers have to tread carefully. Helicopters are being used to retrieve victims, as well as motorboats and trucks.
People have become desperate for rescue, even recording themselves begging for help on social media. In one video, a man asked viewers for help while standing in neck-deep water.
“It looks like water is rising to the second floor,” he said in the video, which went viral shortly after posting. “I hope you can see this. Please pray for us.”
According to CNN, India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, has approved over $71.6 million in government assistance, food, and medicine.
“My thoughts are with the families of those who have lost their lives due to incessant flooding across Kerala. I hope the injured recover at the earliest,” the prime minister said in a tweet. “We all pray for the safety and well being of the people of Kerala.”