Torrential monsoon rains have disrupted air and train services in the southern state of Kerala, where flooding, landslides and bridge collapses have killed more than 40 in the past week, officials said on Wednesday.

The international airport at Kochi, a major port city, suspended flight operations until Saturday after rains flooded the runway.

Authorities asked tourists to stay away from the popular hill station of Munnar in Idukki district because of flooding. Kerala is a popular tourist destination with scenic landscapes, waterfalls and beautiful beaches.

People have also been asked to avoid the Sabarimala hill shrine as the water level in the nearby rain-fed Pampa River is reportedly rising. Sabarimala, a Hindu pilgrimage centre in the mountain ranges of Pathanamthitta district, attracts around 45 million devotees every year.

Krishna Kumar, a relief official, said there will be no immediate respite for thousands of people in state-run relief camps with more rain and winds forecast until Saturday.

Heavy rains forced state authorities to release excess water from dozens of reservoirs, causing floods downstream. The flooding has submerged vast areas in 12 out of 14 districts in the state.

Kerala state officials have reportedly put the death toll since August 8 at 44.

Monsoon rains kill hundreds of people every year in India. The monsoon season runs from June to September.