Heavy monsoon rains in the Indian state of Kerala has forced the closure of the gateway Kochi airport.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued a further update to travel advice issued at the start of the week, warning of severe disruption to transportation in the region due to flooding.

It came as the death toll from in Kerala rose from 39 to 79 and 82 tourists were reported locally to be stranded in a bus due as routes were ether flooded or blocked by mudslides.

Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated following the opening of Kerala’s Idukki reservoir floodgates.

The worst flooding to hit the popular tourist destination in almost a century has created “unprecedented havoc,” Kerala’s chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan warned.

The FCO reported that heavy monsoon rain was continuing across the western Indian coastal state, claiming several lives.

“Rail and road transport has been severely affected with roads and tracks submerged and cut off,” according to the latest travel advisory.

“Flights to and from Kochi airport have been suspended until Saturday 18 August.

“If you’re travelling to or are in Kerala you should closely monitor travel advice and media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities.

“The CIAL (Cochin International Airport Limited) helpline for stranded passengers is 0484- 3053500 and the government of Kerala helpline number is 1800-425-5313.”