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At least 18 people died a day after torrential rains swept through villages and flooded roads in southern India’s Kerala state.

Authorities said rescuers recovered bodies in two of the worst-affected districts, Kottayam and Idukki, where heavy rains triggered massive landslides, according to the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.

The National Disaster Response Force and the Indian Army have deployed teams to assist with the rescue efforts, as several remain missing.

When the heavy rains began on Saturday, television reports showed people wading through chest-deep water to rescue passengers from a bus that was nearly submerged in torrents flooding the roads.

State Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urged residents on Sunday to exercise extreme caution, even though the intense rainfall has since subsided. More than 100 relief camps have been set up, he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he had spoken to the chief minister and added that authorities were working to rescue those affected. “I pray for the safety and well-being of all,” he said in a tweet.

In 2018, Kerala suffered catastrophic flooding when heavy rains in the middle of the monsoon season killed 223 people and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes.


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