New Delhi - Floods in India's southern state of Kerala have claimed 39 lives and caused a loss of 1.1 billion dollars, officials said on Monday, as the region braces for more rains during one of its worst monsoon seasons in a century.
As many as 33,372 people evacuated from villages in low-lying areas were housed in 305 state-run relief camps, officials in the state disaster management control room said.
The death toll had climbed to 39 since the heavy rains hit the state on August 8, with the fatalities reported in accidents like drowning and landslides, officials said, adding that five more people were still missing.
The heavy rains have ravaged the state, destroying state highways as well as crops across over 1,000 hectares of farmland.
State chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Kerala was in the midst of the "second worst flood after 1924," with 10 out of 14 districts severely affected and authorities forced to release water from 27 major dams.
"The impact of the disaster is likely to be felt for a long time. Preliminary assessment indicate [sic] that nearly 20,000 houses have been fully damaged and nearly 10,000 kilometres of state roads damaged," his office said on Twitter. It put preliminary costs as a result of the severe weather at 80.3 billion rupees.
The rains eased on Sunday but state agencies were on high alert as the weather office has forecast "heavy to very heavy" rainfall till Wednesday in many parts of Kerala.