Kerala flooding alert issued as monsoon rains hit Indian state

Dozens of people have died with flooding reported in most areas as heavy monsoon rain continues across the Indian state of Kerala.

The death toll is believed by Indian officials to have reached 37 with 36,000 people evacuated following the opening of Kerala’s Idukki reservoir floodgates.

“Rail and road transport has been severely affected with roads and tracks submerged and cut off,” the Foreign and Commonwealth Office warned in updated travel advice.

“If you’re travelling to or are in Kerala you should closely monitor travel advice, media reports and follow advice of local authorities.”

But Kochi airport insisted it was not disrupted by flooding, despite the FCO suggesting that flights to and from the airport may be affected.

“All airline operations are going smoothly,” the airport said on its website. “There are no cancellations of flights so far.

“We hope that we can maintain status quo as the flow of water through adjacent canal is still under control.”

More than a million foreign tourists visited Kerala in 2017, according to official data.

The government of Kerala, which has a population of 33 million people, has imposed a ban on the movement of lorries and tourist vehicles in Idukki.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the state was facing an “unprecedented crisis” due to the floods and rebuilding affected areas would be a “Herculeamn task”.

In a statement posted on Twitter, he said: “Our state is in the midst of an unprecedented flood havoc.

“The calamity has caused immeasurable misery and devastation. Many lives were lost. Hundreds of homes were totally destroyed.”

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