Kerala floods: 'Everything is devastated'

Siobhan Robbins, Southeast Asia correspondent

Kerala is a state submerged. The worst floods in a century have damaged tens of thousands of homes, hundreds of thousand of people have been displaced.

In the last day some of the water has begun to recede, where it was is now a tide of rubbish and ruined belongings.

Roads, which for much of last week had become rivers, are reappearing in some areas, slick with mud and waste.

In houses, the dropping water level exposes the bodies of those it swallowed before they could escape.

Officials say at least 400 people have died but the true death toll is only just being revealed

We drive to Chengannur, one of the worst hit areas where we meet Joseph Philip surveying the damage.

Standing outside his partially submerged home he tells us the flooding came without warning, there was no time to move things to safety.

We wade through the driveway and climb up into the house.

It's pitch black inside. He says the electricity went off around eight days ago, the water supply quickly followed.

The stinking brown floods have contaminated everything they've touched.

The family's couch stands on its end, a thick layer of slime now covers the top.

In the bedrooms, water has seeped into the mattresses and through the wardrobe doors. The clothes inside are sodden and still dripping.

The fridge door is ajar, silt now covers the shelves peeping out.

Sewage systems quickly overflowed so a foul stench fills every room. This is the first time Joseph has properly seen the damage and it's devastating.

The family's two pet dachshunds are on the flat roof.

Joseph explains he managed to get his children, the dogs and some of his cows up the stairs to safety during the inundation but that's it. "Everything is devastated, I've lost everything," he says sadly.

At the moment there is no compensation, no insurance, his only choice is to start from scratch.

As we drive around the neighbourhood, Joseph's misery is repeated at house after house.

We are told a few kilometres up the road the situation is even worse.

The water has imprisoned people in the homes for over a week without food or water. Boat or helicopter are now their best hope of getting out.

Disease is also becoming a huge concern.

Volunteers pack box after box of medical supplies which are then airdropped with food to waterlogged communities.

Rescuers are slowly getting to the worse affected but the challenge facing this state is huge.

Around a million people including 100,000 children are now in relief camps and it will be a long time before they can return home.