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Death toll in India flood jumps to 357

The death toll from the worst flooding to hit India’s Kerala state in a century has jumped to 357, authorities said yester­day, with losses to infrastruc­ture pegged at some $3 bil­lion.

The idyllic tourist hotspot has been badgered by torrential monsoon rains since the end of May, triggering landslides and flash floods that have swept away entire villages.

“Since May 29, when the monsoon starts in Kerala, a to­tal of 357 people have lost their lives until now,” a statement from the state’s information of­ficer said, with 33 losing their lives over the last 24 hours.

Some 353,000 people have taken shelter in 3,026 relief camps as thousands of army, navy, and air force troops fan out to help those still strand­ed.

Roads and 134 bridges have suffered damage, isolating re­mote areas in the hilly districts of the state which are worst af­fected.

Panic-stricken people have been making appeals on so­cial media for help, saying they cannot get through to rescue services.

“According to preliminary es­timates, Kerala’s losses due to the floods is 19,512 crore ru­pees ($2.9 billion). Actual loss­es can be estimated only after the water recedes,” the state­ment said.

The state chief minister has requested more funding as well as 20 more helicopters and 600 motorized boats in order to step up the rescue efforts.

Indian Prime Minister Nar­endra Modi conducted a brief air inspection tour of the state Saturday and announced an immediate grant of $75 million. (AFP)

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