The worst-affected districts of Kottayam and Idukki are suffering from deadly mudslides as torrential rains swept through villages and flooded roads.
At least 19 people were killed a day after torrential rains hit villages and flooded roads in southern India’s Kerala state.
Authorities said rescuers recovered bodies in two of the worst-affected districts, Kottayam and Idukki, where heavy rains triggered massive landslides, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.
The National Disaster Response Force and the Indian Army have deployed teams to assist with the rescue efforts, as many people remain missing.
When the heavy rains began on Saturday, TV reports showed people wading through chest-deep water to rescue passengers from a bus that was nearly submerged in torrents flooding the roads.
State Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urged residents on Sunday to exercise extreme caution, even as the heavy rains have subsided. More than 100 relief camps have been set up, he added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he had spoken with the chief minister and authorities were working to rescue those affected. “I pray for the safety and well-being of all,” he said in a tweet.
It is sad that some people have lost their lives due to heavy rains and landslides in Kerala. Condolences to the bereaved families.
– Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 17, 2021
A dozen people, including children, were missing in Idukki, media said.
“We are continuously monitoring the situation in parts of Kerala following heavy rains and flooding. The central government will provide all possible support to help those in need. The National Disaster Response Force has already been dispatched to assist with the rescue operations. Pray for everyone’s safety, ”Federal Interior Minister Amit Shah said on Twitter.
The non-seasonal rains – coming after the monsoon season – were caused by a low pressure system in the adjacent Arabian Sea. The main state pilgrimage to the Sabarimala Shrine has been postponed.
The Indian Meteorological Office predicts light to moderate showers in the region over the next 24 to 48 hours.
In 2018, Kerala suffered catastrophic flooding when heavy showers during the monsoon killed 223 people and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes.