Kerala floods: People offer special prayers for victims

Rescuers plead for help as thousands stranded in flooded Kerala

Thousands await rescue amid deadly south Indian floods

Thousands of stranded people were waiting for rescue Saturday and officials pleaded for more help as relentless monsoon floods battered the south Indian state of Kerala, where more than 190 have died in a little over a week and much of the state is partially submerged.

About 800,000 people have been displaced and more than 350 have died in the worst flooding in a century in southern India's Kerala state, according to officials.

Several states have come forward to help the people of Kerala, which has been devastated by floods.

The lull in the rain over the weekend may yet prove temporary. Meteorologists forecast rains continuing through Monday.

Kerala's chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, said the state is facing an extremely grave crisis and the economic damage is likely to run into billions of dollars. The Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA) wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi today, saying, "We are willing to fly the planes without payment on voluntary basis to the cause of these operations. At least 220 bridges have been damaged and 59 were still under water, officials said.

Other distressed messages were shared online from people trapped inside temples and hospitals as well as their homes. A BSc student at a private college at Thodupuzha in Idukki district, Hanan's story had gone viral after a Malayalam daily reported her struggles. On Friday, Saji Cherian, Chengannur's elected legislator, wept on television, asking for help. "The air marshal in charge of the air operations said more helicopters are on the way".

One of his advisers, Prabha Varma, told Reuters 186 people had died since August 8, when the waters began to rise. "Please help. No rescue is available", he added. "People have to be airlifted".

"We are bracing ourselves for when the floods finally subside and we can finally access some of the areas now totally cut off, where we may find more animals we're desperately hoping to reach", Varma said.

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Outside Kerala's municipality of Aluva, Arun Namboothiri's family had been stuck for three days in the first floor of their house. The Navy has deployed ten rescue teams, ten motorized boats, one Advanced Light Helicopter and one seeking helicopter as part of its operation.

"They managed to get them to a relative's place nearby", he told The National.

While there has been some respite from heavy rain, the Kochi airport remains shut due to heavy flooding inside the airport premises.

1,500 Number of relief centres set up.

Humane Society International India said many animals have perished in the disaster and were working with the Kerala government and the National Disaster Response Force to locate and rescue dogs, cats and other animals left behind during evacuations.

"It was decided that corruption, scams of the Modi government particularly the Rafale scam will be taken to people of India", party's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters.

"The last thing the state needs during this period of reconstruction is something like an epidemic to flare up anywhere", Mr Chacko said. Over 3.53 lakh affected persons had been lodged in over 2,000 relief camps, he said.

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