Vastavam web: The death toll from the worst floods in nearly a century in Kerala rose to 67 on Wednesday as rising water stranded tens of thousands of people and forced the closure of one of its main airports. The five latest fatalities from the rain that began a week ago came when authorities in the southern state were forced to release water from 35 dangerously full dams, sending a surge into its main river.
The India Meteorological Department has forecast heavy to very heavy rain in the state until Saturday, and it has issued a “red alert” for 12 out of its 14 districts. The airport in the port city of Kochi will stay shut until Saturday afternoon. A senior official with the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority, Sekhar Lukose Kuriakose, said the seasonal rains have killed more than 200 people in the state since May and displaced many. Famous for its coastline and picturesque backwaters, Kerala has become a major destination for domestic and international tourists.