At least 18 dead in south India as heavy rains trigger landslides, flood villages

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At least 18 people have died in the southern Indian state of Kerala, a day after torrential rains lashed villages and flooded roads.

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According to Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency, officials said rescue teams recovered bodies in two of the worst-hit districts, Kottayam and Idukki, where heavy rains caused massive landslides.

The National Disaster Response Force and the Indian Army deployed teams to aid in the rescue efforts as many are still feared missing.

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On Saturday, as the heavy rains began, television reports showed people going chest-deep to rescue passengers from a bus submerged in floodwaters on the streets.

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State Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday urged residents to exercise extreme caution even though the intense rainfall has subsided. He said that more than 100 relief camps have been set up.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he spoke to the chief minister and said officials were working to rescue those affected. “I pray for everyone’s safety and well being,” he said in a tweet.

In 2018, Kerala suffered devastating floods, when heavy rains during the monsoon season killed 223 people and forced hundreds of thousands out of their homes.

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