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Eighteen people died after torrential rains swept through villages and flooded roads in the southern Indian state of Kerala on Saturday.

Local sources said rescuers recovered the bodies in two of the worst-hit districts, Kottayam and Idukki, where the heavy downpours triggered massive landslides.

To speed up the search and rescue operations, the National Disaster Response Force and the Indian Army deployed some teams in the affected area.

On Sunday, state chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, urged residents to exercise extreme caution even though the intense rainfall has since subsided.

Vijayan said to offer homes to affected residents, over 100 relief camps have been set up already.

In 2018, Kerala also suffered catastrophic floods when heavy downpours amid the monsoon season killed 223 people and drove hundreds of thousands from their homes.

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