Nationwide, more than 700 people have been killed in monsoon flooding. Last year 1,200 people perished.
In Kerala the army has been roped in for rescue efforts after two days of rain that have forced authorities to open the shutters of 24 reservoirs to drain out the excess water.
Some 20,000 people have been displaced and 260 relief camps have been set up. Fifty-seven tourists including 24 foreigners were stranded in the hill station of Munnar.
One of the five shutters of a large reservoir in the mountainous Idukki district was opened for the first time in 26 years.
“Twenty-four dams have been opened so far, which is unprecedented and is telling of the seriousness of the situation,” Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wote on Twitter.
“People living in the downstream areas of these dams must be cautious.”