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India's Kerala state devastated by worst flood in a century

Death toll from floods in southern state of Kerala jumps to hundreds, with more than 220,000 forced from their homes.

Thrissur, Kerala state, India

The worst floods in a century have devastated the Indian state of Kerala, killing scores of people and forcing tens of thousands into relief camps.

State officials have put the death toll at 164 since August 8, with more than 300 killed since the monsoon season began on May 25.

Helicopters and disaster management teams have been battling heavy rains since Thursday to reach flooded areas in order to evacuate people stranded in homes or on rooftops.

The floods have damaged hundreds of kilometres of roads and disrupted train and air services. The airport at Kochi, the busiest city in Kerala, will remain closed until Saturday.

India's monsoon season, between June and September, often sees heavy rains that are vital for agriculture, but which can cause immense destruction.

Kerala has been hit with 37 percent more rainfall than normal since the beginning of this monsoon, the Meteorological Department said.

Some plantations have also been inundated. The state is a major producer of rubber, tea, coffee and spices such as black pepper and cardamom.

Flood victims
partially submerged houses
Indian Navy soldiers
Rescuers used helicopters
Roads and houses
relief camps
flooded area in Thrissur
Monsoon rains

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