>> Despite one of the worst floods in the history of India's Kerala state, devotees gathered in huge numbers on the banks of rivers on Saturday to perform an annual ritual.
> This is Vavu Bali, when prayers are offered for the salvation of the souls of ancestors. These rituals taking place in the city of Kochi, near the partly submerged temple of the Hindu god, Shiva.
A reminder that a more earthly salvation is currently needed in Kerala. Torrential monsoon rains have ravaged farmlands and prompted mass evacuation efforts. According to a senior government official, eight districts in the coastal state, which has 44 rivers, are on high alert. At least 34 people have died, and the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority says 31,000 have been forced to take shelter in rescue camps.
Crops on more than 1,000 acres, or 2,500 hectares, have also been damaged.
e Weather Department forecasts heavy rains until August 15th, India's Independence Day.