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Kerala: At least 23 killed after heavy rains swell rivers, trigger floods and landslides

At least 23 people have been killed in floods in southern India after heavy rains caused rivers to overflow, cutting off towns and villages.

Five children are among the dead. There are fears the death toll could rise further as many people are missing.

Several houses were washed away and people became trapped in the district of Kottayam in Kerala state.




Days of heavy rainfall in Kerala has caused deadly landslides and the Indian military has joined rescue efforts.

Helicopters have been used to fly in supplies and personnel to areas where people have been trapped under debris by the landslides, officials said on Sunday.

Fishing boats are being used to evacuate survivors trapped in Kollam and other coastal towns, as sections of road have been swept away and trees uprooted.



Local residents joined rescue teams to help remove mud, rocks and fallen trees from affected areas as the search for survivors continued.

Refugee centers have been set up in multiple regions across the state.

It is not uncommon for heavy rainfall to cause flooding and landslides in Kerala, where wetlands and lakes that once acted as natural safeguards against floods have disappeared because of increasing urbanisation and construction.

In 2018, some 400 people died and more than one million others were displaced by the worst flooding in Kerala in a century.

An assessment carried out by the federal government that same year found that the state, which has 44 rivers flowing through it, was among the 10 most vulnerable to flooding.