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Rescue and relief efforts beefed up in 4 Indian states

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Perunthenaruvi

Union Home Minister Amit Shah will conduct an aerial survey of flood affected areas in Belagavi district and Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa will join him in the exercise.

The chief minister also warned against the spread of misinformation that he said affects both "rescue operations" and "correct decisions to be taken by the public". "The government views it as a heinous crime against the state and the people, " Vijayan said, warning of action against propagators of such campaigns. The army team will begin rescue operation from Sunday morning to save 200 persons trapped in Vaniyampuzha.

Floods and landslides across southern and western Indian states have killed almost 200 people over the past week as the Indian Army intensifies its relief operations to help thousands stranded in desperate need of rescue. In Kerala, death toll mounted to 72 with the recovery of 15 more bodies on Sunday.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi urged the state and central governments to provide immediate assistance to those affected by the floods in the state and promised to do everything possible to get the people back on their feet.

Across Kerala, 1,24,464 people have been shifted to 1,111 relief camps, including 25,0028 in Kozhikode and 24,990 in Wayanad, officials said.

Larger dams in Kerala are only about half-full now, in sharp contrast to the last year's precarious situation where sluice gates of almost full dams had to be opened to discharge water in the midst of heavy rain, leading to floods.

"If one compares with the floods that took place the same time a year ago, this time it's not that serious. It's not easy to escape from landslides", Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said. The Kochi airport, which had been closed since Thursday evening, resumed operations on Sunday while most of the rail tracks and roads were opened for traffic. "But, there should be at least 50 people", said a villager.

Orange alert is on in six districts - Idukki, Malappuram, Kannur, Kasaragod, Malappuram and Kozhikode - but no red alerts are issued for Monday.

After Shah left, Yediyurappa said he requested the Centre to release a Rs 3,000-crore grant for the state. A total of about 1,642 relief camps have been opened in the state according to latest figures, with 75,714 families in there.

Meanwhile, the maximum temperature in the national capital on Saturday settled at 34.3 degrees Celsius, even as high humidity levels caused discomfort to the people.

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