A massive landslide in the Idukki district of Kerala has claimed 28 lives according to recent reports. The landslide occurred at the Pettimudi area near Rajamala. This is 25km from the tourist destination of Munnar. The landslide occurred on Friday night after the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had issued a red alert for heavy rainfall. The district is primarily a tea estate. Government reports specify that 78 people were residing in the area of the tragedy. Moreover, an estimated number of 20 houses were buried under the debris.
Rescue operation and fatalities
The Pettimudi area witnessed the enormous landslide graze houses to dust. Correspondingly, two children and five women were declared to be deceased. Additionally, rescue efforts were obstructed by the torrential rainfall which destroyed a bridge leading to the area. The bridge was restored soon to allow rescue workers and firefighters to attend to the scene.
According to News18 two more bodies were recovered from the debris which brought up the death toll to 28. In addition, 44 people were deemed to be missing. Rescue operation for the others is underway. Those who have been rescued are admitted to the General Hospital in Munnar.
The Prime Minister has expressed his condolences for the residents of the area. Pinarayi Vijayan had been assisting the rescue workers who were working in tandem with the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to rescue civilians. Furthermore, officials have said that they are now using sniffer dogs to trace bodies of those who have been buried under the debris.
According to The Times of India, an elderly woman recounted that they had been living in trying circumstances for the past few weeks as the rainfall caused a shortage in electricity, destruction of telephone lines, and hampered their work.
Kerala amidst tragedies
The IMD has further issued a red alert for heavy rainfall in the Idukki, Malappuram, and Wayanad districts. Consequently, heavy flooding has caused relief camps to be set up for those residing in the low-lying areas of Ernakulam. This tragedy occurred a year after the landslides in Malappuram and Wayanad which claimed 50 lives. Kerala experienced a double catastrophe this weekend with an Air India flight crashing in the city of Kozhikode.