According to BBC News, rescue efforts are ongoing in Kerala, India which has recently experienced disastrous flooding from monsoon rains.

BBC News reports that the rains have eased for now and that the rescue efforts have increased.  

So far, the flooding is reported to have claimed the lives of around 350 people and left thousands more stranded as some areas are still under water.

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Flood victims wait for rescue next to a makeshift raft

As a part of the rescue efforts, the Indian air force and navy are using helicopters to airlift people who are stranded on rooftops and are dropping off food and supplies to those who they cannot yet reach.

BBC News reported that, the state’s chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, made a vow on Sunday to “save even the last person stranded.”

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Many of the stranded have spent days without food or drinking water

It is being reported that officials fear that as many as 5,000 people could be trapped in the riverside town of Chengannur, so rescue teams are focusing much of their effort on the town.

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This woman and her young son were rescued from a flooded area of Aluva

It was also reported that the Indian government has deployed hundreds of government boats to use to rescue the stranded citizens. Local fishermen are also playing a pivotal role, offering their own boats as resources for the rescue and relief mission.  

Other forms of aid are coming from cellphone operators who, as of Saturday, began offering free data and text messages for people in Kerala in order to help those in distress.

The monsoon rain has not only caused flooding, but it has also contributed to landslides which have wiped out entire villages. According to BBC News, in these areas the military is now working toward clearing the debris and building temporary bridges to help restore transport links.

Map showing rainfall in India 10 - 16 August

Not only are authorities working to rescue stranded and trapped residence in Kerala, but they are also concerned with the potential outbreak of water-borne and contagious illnesses.  BBC News reports that three people have already been confirmed to have chickenpox and are being isolated at a camp in the town of Aluva. 

Pope Francis spoke out about the flooding this weekend, saying, “Our brothers should not lack our solidarity or the concrete support of the international community,” and worshippers in the Vatican were photographed carrying signs that said, “Pray for Kerala.”

According to officials more than 200,000 families have taken refuge in relief camps.

Written by: Kayla Koslosky
Feature image: Torrents of water have rushed through towns and villages, AFP/GETTY IMAGES
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