Heavy rainfall in Kerala’s Idukki district caused a massive landfall on early Friday morning. At least 5 people have been reported dead and many others are feared trapped. Officials say the landslide happened in the Rajamalai area of the district, which is around 25 km from the tourist town of Munnar. The area has been receiving heavy rainfall for the past 3 days.
According to the latest reports by the Indian Express, 12 bodies have been reportedly recovered so far while ten people have been rescued from the site. Talik officials said that a connecting bridge was swept away yesterday, making access to the area difficult. Rescue teams have also been slowed by tough terrain.
Between 70 and 80 people lived in the area and there is no way to know how many are trapped under the mud, officials said. According to rescue workers, four lanes of quarters and a church are buried under mud. Injured are currently undergoing treatment at Munnar’s Tata General Hospital. With the Periyavara bridge being washed away, it became all the more difficult for rescue workers to reach the spot. The construction of a new temporary Preiyavara bridge, however, is underway.
A 50-member strong special task force of the state fire service – who have been equipped for night-time work – among those sent, Chief Minister Pinaryai Vijayan said. The Chief Minister’s office has also sought assistance from IAF helicopters to aid in rescue and relief efforts.
A 50 member strong special task force team of the Fire Force has been dispatched to Rajamalai in Idukki for rescue efforts. They have been equipped for nighttime rescue activities. #KeralaRains pic.twitter.com/olo1eraMNV
— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) August 7, 2020
An NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) team has reached the landslide site. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan tweeted that a second-team, based in Thrissur, was also en route and police, fire service personnel, and forest and revenue officials had been instructed to join rescue efforts.
Watch terrifying stills from Kerala Landslide here:
Landslides in #Munnar, extremely heavy rainfall has led to flood-like situation in parts of #Kerala. A major landslide has been reported from #Idukki district in which 80 people are feared trapped. #KeralaRains pic.twitter.com/aMIHNImG5N
— Nikhil Choudhary (@NikhilCh_) August 7, 2020
Rain wreaks havoc in Kerala. Rivers are in full spate and around 2000 people have landed in relief camps. Water gushing down a hillock at Periyavara near Munnar hill station in Idukki dist. @NewIndianXpress @xpresskerala @PRamdas_TNIE #KeralaFloods pic.twitter.com/pynTncTWMu
— Manoj Viswanathan (@Manojexpress) August 6, 2020
“The situation is really serious,” Revenue minister E Chandrasekaran said. The minister further said that the authorities are trying to airlift those injured.
The entire area’s network and communication have been cut off due to the massive landslide. Currently, night travel has been banned in Idukki district, the state disaster management authority was quoted by news agency PTI, adding that several roads and highways had been closed due to rains
Kerala CM has requested assistance from Indian Air Force for the rescue operation. pic.twitter.com/yWmwXHUxEz
— ANI (@ANI) August 7, 2020
The Indian Meteorological Department has forecasted extremely heavy rainfall for Idukki district for today and tomorrow. Among others are Malappuram and Wayanad, warned of heavy to very heavy rain tomorrow.
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