At least 15 persons have died and several were reported missing because of heavy rain, which started on the night of Sunday-Monday, and landslides in the hilly district of Idukki, south-central Kerala.
The devastation took place when a huge mound of rock and slush came crashing down at Chiyyappara in Idukki while relief work was going on.
Cochin International Airport was closed for two days after its runway was flooded and many flights were diverted or cancelled.
Many vehicles are feared trapped in the debris and the state government has sought the help of the army and the National Disaster Response Force.
The toll was likely to go up, said a senior district official. There are unconfirmed reports that some foreign tourists too are trapped.
Incessant rain hampered rescue and relief at several places and the government has asked tourists to avoid hill stations. Chief minister Oommen Chandy has called an emergency cabinet meeting to review the situation and step up relief operations. Two ministers have gone to Idukki to co-ordinate relief work.
“We have sought help from the army and navy for rescue operations. We are closely monitoring the situation. Some of the dams have already crossed the danger mark,” Chandy said.
In Idukki many houses built on the slopes of hills have been swept away in flash floods and landslides.
Since roads were blocked due to heavy landslides, many areas in the district remain isolated.