Kerala: At least eight dead and dozens missing in floods in southern India after heavy rain

At least eight people have officially died and another 12 are missing after the southern Indian state of Kerala was hit by flooding.

Local media put the number killed even higher, with reports saying that at least 12 bodies have been recovered from Kottayam and three more bodies recovered from Idukki, the two worst hit areas.

Flash floods and landslides followed downpours on Saturday that left rescue services scrambling to help.

Among those whose bodies were recovered in Koottickal, in Kottayam, were two women and a child and at least five houses were washed away, News18 reported.

Teams from the National Disaster Response Force and the Indian army and navy were deployed in Kottayam and Idukki.

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.

Television footage showed people wading through chest-deep water to rescue passengers from a bus that was nearly submerged.

Officials said the intense rainfall has subsided, but they fear the death toll could rise as relief and rescue operations continue.

Home affairs minister Amit Shah said the federal government was monitoring the situation in Kerala and would provide any necessary support to the state.

He said on Twitter: “Praying for everyone’s safety.”

In a statement released on his official Twitter account, Kerala governor Shri Arif Mohammed Khan said: “My heartfelt condolence to the bereaved families. I request people to be vigilant, pay heed to warnings & cooperate with rescue teams”.

In 2018, 223 people died and hundreds of thousands were driven from their homes when Kerala suffered catastrophic floods during monsoon season.

Some parts of neighbouring Tamil Nadu state were also reported to have been hit by the flooding.

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