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The NDRF has evacuated over 10,000 people from the heavy rains and flood waters affected areas of Kerala till now as it said it has launched its biggest-ever relief and rescue operation in the country till date.

Almost 200 people have been killed in Kerala since August 8 due to floods caused by rains and landslides, while lakhs of people have been moved to relief camps.

"We are deploying more boats and the army to ramp up rescue operations", senior state government official P.H. Kurian told AFP. Some 350,000 people have been left homeless and taken shelter in relief camps.

Describing the situation in Kerala as "the most devastating in a century", the UAE Prime Minister added, "The state of Kerala in India is now witnessing huge floods, the most devastating in a century".

As reported earlier, the Kerala Chief Secretary had requested for motorised boats to reach people marooned in flood-affected areas.

In Mala, desperate villagers had to improvise as the floodwaters rose, using kitchen pots as rafts to reach their stricken neighbours.

"There are many people waiting to be rescued in areas like Pandanad (near Chengannur) and I saw two bodies floating in the water".

The team later rescued a 61-year-old kidney ailment patient, Raveendran, who needs dialysis twice a week.

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"Please ask Modi to give us helicopters, give us helicopters".

Entire villages in Kerala have been swept away in the state's worst floods for a century, and emergency responders fear the death toll will rise as they reach areas nearly entirely underwater.

Helicopters have also been dropping emergency food and water supplies, while special trains carrying drinking water have been sent to Kerala. "What we need right now is bottled water, which is easy to transport to remote and isolated places, where some people are still stranded", Kurian said. Many roads and railways have been shut, and one of the state's major airports, in the city of Kochi, has also closed. It is scheduled to remain closed until August 26.

The Centre on Saturday said the Cochin Naval Base would be thrown open for commercial flight operations from the morning of August 20-a move that will bring a huge relief to people awaiting resumption of air service from Kochi.

Prime Minister Modi inspected the flooded landscape from a helicopter and met Saturday with the state's top officials, promising more than $70 million in aid.

While the central government has dispatched multiple military units to Kerala, state officials are pleading for additional help.

Meanwhile, Vijayan further informed Modi that the state had incurred a total loss of INR 19,512 crores at least on initial assessment.


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