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An elderly woman is rescued in a cooking utensil after her home was flooded in Thrissur, Kerala state, India, Aug.16, 2018. Torrential monsoon rains have disrupted air and train services in the southern Indian state of Kerala, where flooding, landslides and bridge collapses have killed dozens of people in the past week, officials said.
NewsWater & Sanitation

Rescuers in Kerala, India, Rush to Save Flood Victims Trapped by Filthy Waters

Why Global Citizens Should Care
India must ensure access to clean water and sanitation for all survivors of the Kerala floods. But in order to do so, a swift emergency response is needed. You can join us in taking action here.

Members of the Indian government's National Disaster Response Force are swimming through filthy, dangerous sewage in order to reach isolated residents after deadly flash floods devastated the region last week, reported CNN.

Rescuers are tasked with trying to safely evacuate those who are stranded and to deliver supplies to those without food and clean water.

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"Rescuers have to become friends with water. Otherwise they can't rescue anyone successfully," said Dharamvir Singh, the leader of a team of six men charged with these rescue missions.

The first of such efforts involved locating an elderly man at 2:30 a.m. who neighbors said “was in the middle of nowhere” and deliver an oxygen tank, according to the report.

Singh’s and similar teams use inflatable rafts and other makeshift dinghys to travel between homes, some carrying supplies others carrying victims who require medical attention.

Locals, including fisherman, are also banding together to help out the most vulnerable, according to NDTV.

"Keeping in view the intensity and magnitude of the floods and landslides in Kerala, this is a calamity of a severe nature for all practical purposes," a home ministry official told the Times of India.

By designating it as such, the state can receive additional emergency funding and assistance.

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Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also confirmed that 223 people had lost their lives between Aug. 8 and 20, according to NDTV. More than 800,000 have been displaced by the floods, according to Al Jazeera.

"We are slowly winding down rescue operations and concentrating on relief and rehabilitation," E Chandrasekharan, Kerala's revenue minister, said in the report. "About 95%of people affected have been rescued and put up in relief camps. We are hoping to reach out to everyone by end of day today."