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

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.

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.

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.

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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