India has issued a fresh flood alert for parts of the southern state of Kerala as the nationwide death toll from the annual monsoon rose to at least 244.
On Wednesday authorities warned Kerala residents of heavy rainfall over the next 24-48 hours in some of the worst-affected regions of the state.
Heavy rain in parts of four Indian states – Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat – has forced more than 1.2 million people to leave their homes, mostly for government-run relief camps.
Kerala was hit by its worst floods in almost a century last year, when 450 people died, and the state is still recovering from the damage to public infrastructure including railways and roads.
The state’s death toll this monsoon season increased to 95 overnight, with at least 59 people missing, Kerala police told Agence France-Presse on Wednesday.
At least 58 people have died in neighbouring Karnataka state, where authorities have rescued about 677,000 people from flooded regions.
The situation is improving in Karnataka as waters recede, a government official said.
In the western states of Gujarat and Maharashtra the death toll reached 91, with hundreds of thousands rescued from inundated regions.
India has deployed the army, navy and air force to work with local emergency personnel for search, rescue and relief operations.
The monsoon rains are crucial to replenishing water supplies in drought-stricken India, but they kill hundreds of people across the country every year.
BDST: 1806 HRS, AUG 14, 2019