Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Officials said Thursday nearly 80 people have died from flooding in a southern state of India.
Twelve deaths were reported in Kerala state on Thursday alone, bringing the total number of deaths from flooding to 79 since Aug. 8, the Indo-Asian News Service reported.
The entire state of Kerala has been on red alert since 28 deaths were reported on Wednesday alone.
Kerala, home to 33 million people, has been drenched by a monsoon, a seasonal wind shift causing more heavy rains between May and September each year. This year has been the worst monsoon in nearly a century and particularly severe since Aug. 8, officials said.
Hundreds of villages have been flooded and authorities have suspended flights in and out of the region.
Kerala is a popular tourist town with more than a million foreign tourists a year, official data shows.
More than 60,000 people have sought shelter in relief camps while the army and navy have been called in to assist with rescue operations, an official said.
In a 24-hour period, the Pathamthitta district has born the brunt of the monsoon rains that's left thousands, including students, trapped in their homes, IANS said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Thursday he was "praying for the safety and well-being of the people of Kerala."