Thousands stranded in India as deadly monsoon floods continue

Indian volunteers and rescue personal evacuate local residents in a boat in a residential area at Aluva in Ernakulam district in the Indian state of Kerala

A deluge in India's flood-stricken southwestern state of Kerala finally let up on Sunday, giving some respite for thousands of marooned families, while authorities feared an outbreak of disease among over 200,000 people crammed into relief camps.

Lack of information about the isolated areas and houses, where a large number of people are believed to be stuck, is a worrying factor for rescuers, official sources said. More than 80 dams were opened, leading to floods while the rains also triggered landslides.

With heavy rains keeping away from vulnerable areas, though with exceptions, the overall situation in the flood-ravaged Kerala has improved on the fifth day on Sunday.

One of the rescuers, Rajagopal, a police constable who uses only one name, said initially "we didn't anticipate it would be such a big disaster". About 19 rescue teams are operating in Chengannur today, while 17 are in Thiruvalla, nine in Kodungallur, and five in Chalakkdi.

Fishing boats are already being used for the mission.

The worst may not be over for the anytime soon - meteorologists are forecasting more rain for the state.

Huge granite blocks, which had fallen from atop mountains, could be seen perched precariously amidst gushing flood waters.

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High-range Idukki district, Malappuram and Thrissur are among the worst hit.

Dead bodies were seen floating in several places, including Pandanad, Aranmula and Nenmara, where a massive landslide was reported two days ago.

All elected representatives of the party would donate one month's salary towards relief efforts in the state, it said. But the Kochi-Panvel (Mumbai) highway remains flooded at Varapuzha.

With more downpours on the way, the government has dispatched multiple military units and state officials are pleading for additional help.

He said the state government is in constant touch with its Kerala counterpart for its requirements and necessary support since yesterday in the wake of devastating floods which have caused large-scale damage in the southern state.Fadnavis appealed to citizens and organisations to come forward and contribute in all possible ways to help the people of Kerala. While the central government has dispatched multiple military units to Kerala, state officials are pleading for additional help.Officials have put initial storm damage estimates at almost $3 billion.Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates, where many Keralites work, has also offered assistance to the state.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has launched its biggest-ever rescue operation to date.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inspected the flooded landscape from a helicopter on Saturday and met with the state's top officials, promising more than $70 million in aid. He said that ₹10 million out of ₹50 million will directly go to the Kerala Chief Minister's relief fund, while the rest will be allocated for medical relief aid, the Gulf paper added.

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