At least 22 people killed in flash floods and landslides in south Indian state of Kerala

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At least 22 people have been killed in flash floods and landslides caused by heavy rain in the southern Indian state of Kerala over the weekend.

The National Disaster Response Force, the Indian army and navy were called out to rescue people after several areas were hit.

According to a government official, 13 people were killed in a landslide in the village of Kuttikkal, Kottayam district, with six of the casualties coming from one family.

A landslide triggered by heavy rains in the mountains at Koottickal in Kottayam district, southern Kerala, India. Pic: AP
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A landslide triggered by heavy rains in the mountains in Kottayam district, Kerala. Pic: AP
This photograph provided by the Indian Navy shows a navy person looking from their helicopter on a mission to distribute relief material to flood affected people at Koottickal in Kottayam district, southern Kerala state
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The navy has been distributing relief material to flood affected people. Pic: Indian Navy via AP

Officials said the intense rainfall had subsided, but feared the number of deaths could rise as relief and rescue operations continued.

On Sunday, rescuers recovered bodies in two of the worst-hit districts, Kottayam and Idukki.

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Rescue workers carry the body of a victim after recovering it from the debris of a residential house following a landslide caused by heavy rainfall at Kokkayar village in Idukki district in the southern state of Kerala
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Rescue workers search for victims in the debris of a house in Kokkayar, Idukki district

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Kerala floods kill at least 22

Those two districts and four others were reported to have been put on red alert after at least one of them saw more than 12cm of rain by 8.30pm local time on Saturday, when the heavy rains began.

Then, television reports showed people wading through chest-deep waters to rescue passengers from a bus that was nearly submerged by the torrents flooding the roads.

The state chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, urged residents to exercise extreme caution even though the intense rainfall had subsided.

A Shiva temple on the banks of the Periyar River is surrounded by flood water following heavy rains in Kochi, Kerala. Pic: AP
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A Shiva temple on the banks of the Periyar River is surrounded by flood water. Pic: AP

More than 100 relief camps have been set up, he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he spoke to the chief minister and added that authorities were working to rescue those affected. “I pray for everyone’s safety and well-being,” he said in a tweet.

In 2018, Kerala suffered catastrophic floods when heavy downpours during the monsoon season killed at least 400 people and displaced around 200,000.

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