South-west India, dramatic monsoon toll: 178 dead and one million displaced (Photos and videos)
by Nirmala Carvalho

The most affected state is Kerala, with 72 victims and 260,000 displaced in over 1,600 camps.  The Church at the forefront of assistance operations.  The opposition calls for intervention by the central government.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The toll from the powerful monsoon rains that have hit states in southwest India is worsening by the hour: the latest updates speak of at least 178 deaths and over a million displaced people between Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra.  Speaking to AsiaNews Msgr.  Derek Fernandes, bishop of Belgaum and apostolic administrator of Karwar (in Karnataka), reports that he visited "the Chikodi area, but only the camps for displaced people.  You can't go into the inner areas”.

Rescue operations continue unabated in all the flooded areas and even the organizations that report to the Catholic Church are at the forefront of bringing assistance and comfort.  The bishop said that "our groups are doing an assessment of the damage caused by the floods in the Belgaum district and report serious damage in the areas of Khanapur, Athani, Chikkodi Talukas, as well as heavy losses in various areas of the Bagalkot district".

The prelate explains that the devastation on the territory "is not due only to the rains, but above all to the spillage of the waters of the dams that have been filled in turn with the open basins in Maharashtra.  The situation is really dramatic”.

The heaviest damage is being experienced in Kerala, where the death toll has risen in the last hours to 72 victims;  moreover, the number of people forced to leave their homes is over 260 thousand, with most of them finding refuge in 1,642 camps for displaced persons.  Opposition leaders are appealing to the central government of the Union for an immediate assistance plan.