The death toll in the massive landslide that buried a row of estate workers’ quarters and a church at Pettimudi near Munnar in Kerala’s Idukki, rose to 26, with more bodies being recovered on Saturday by those engaged in search and rescue operations.
The bodies of 15 people were recovered on Friday. Twelve persons were rescued on Friday and they were shifted to hospitals. More bodies are expected to be found under the mounds of rock and soil.
More Defense Security Corps, Natural Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Fire and Safety personnel reached Pettimudi on Saturday to conduct rescue operations.
They faced extreme difficulty getting there as the roads and bridges in the area have been washed away in the heavy rains and resultant floods. A 21-member family is feared buried under the debris. Many houses of plantation workers and the estate canteen were swept away in the landslide.
The NDRF’s south Indian chief said a 55-member team is entrusted with the search and rescue mission. Meanwhile, the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam in Idukki reached 134 ft of the total capacity of 142 ft following heavy rains that lashed the catchment areas of the dam.
Meanwhile, the meteorological department forecast heavy rains in many parts of the state on Sunday too. Red alert warning has been issued for Idukki, Malappuram, Wayanad, Kozhikode and Kannur districts.