Flash floods in Kerala have killed 37 people and displaced about 36,000, Indian officials said on Saturday after heavy monsoons triggered landslides and overflowing reservoirs throughout the southern state.
Kerala, famous for its pristine beaches lined with palm trees and tea plantations, is hit by the monsoon every year, but the rains have been particularly severe this season.
Those who were forced to leave their homes "moved to 350 refugee camps throughout the state," an official at the disaster management control room in Kerala state told AFP.
The army has been cornered for rescue efforts in Kerala after two days of heavy rains that forced authorities to open the shutters of 27 reservoirs to drain off excess water.
One of the five shutters of a large warehouse in the mountain district of Idukki opened for the first time in 26 years.
"Our state is in the midst of unprecedented flood chaos," Kerala Prime Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.
"The calamity has caused immeasurable misery and devastation … Many lives were lost … Hundreds of homes were totally destroyed," he added, praising the efforts of the rescue teams working in the state across India.
The US embassy on Thursday advised its citizens to avoid affected areas and monitor local media for weather updates.
More than a million foreign tourists visited Kerala last year, according to official data.
The government of Kerala, which has a population of 33 million people, has banned the movement of trucks and tourist vehicles in Idukki.