At least 13 people have been killed and over 50 persons are missing after heavy rainfall, that has been continuing since the past four days, triggered a massive landslide at Rajamala in Kerala’s Idukki district.
As per earlier reports, 12 people were rescued from the landslide site and are receiving treatment at Tata General Hospital at Munnar.
Torrential rains pounded Pettimudi in Rajamala in the high range Idukki district, triggering a landslide early Friday morning. Communication links to the area have been affected as the power lines have been snapped in the rains, reported PTI.
Police and fire department were rushed to the spot to carry out search and rescue operations which are in progress.
A mobile medical team and 15 ambulances were sent to the incident site. Medical teams from Ernakulam and Kottayam districts have also been deployed to Idukki, the Kerala government informed.
State Power Minister MM Mani, who hails from the district, earlier in the day said the landslide had occurred at a place where tea estate workers were staying. He said the details are awaited as the terrain is very tough at the spot.
“The place is at the top of a hill. We are awaiting a response; the local legislator is also going to the spot. All emergency services have been pressed into service,” Mani said.
Between 70 and 80 people lived in the area, officials have said, adding that they do not know, at this point, how many are trapped under the mud.
Speaking on the incident, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the National Disaster Response Force has been deployed to rescue the landslide victims in Idukki’s Rajamala.
Police, fire, forest and revenue officials have also been instructed to intensify rescue operation, the chief minister said.
An NDRF team has been deployed to rescue the landslide victims in Rajamalai, Idukki.
Police, Fire Force, Forest & Revenue officials have been instructed to join the rescue efforts.
Another team of NDRF, based in Thrissur, will soon reach Idukki.#KeralaRains
— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) August 7, 2020
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister’s office has contacted the Indian Air Force to provide helicopter services to Rajamala for rescue operations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today expressed grief over loss of lives in Kerala’s Idukki.
“Pained by the loss of lives due to a landslide in Rajamalai, Idukki. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly. NDRF and the administration are working on the ground, providing assistance to the affected,” PM Modi said.
Pained by the loss of lives due to a landslide in Rajamalai, Idukki. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly. NDRF and the administration are working on the ground, providing assistance to the affected.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 7, 2020
The Prime Minister also announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from PMNRF to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each to the injured in the incident.
Ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to a landslide in Rajamalai, Idukki. Rs. 50,000 each would be given to those injured due to the landslide.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) August 7, 2020
MoS MEA V Muraleedharan also offered his condolences to the bereaved families.
“I have spoken to Kerala Chief Secretary and also requested MoS Home and MoS Defence to extend help regrading sending NDRF teams and Air Force assistance that Kerala government has requested for. Government of India is ready to extend all help,” he told news agency ANI.
In the wake of extremely heavy rainfall, a red alert has been issued for Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Idukki and Wayanad for today and for Thrissur, Palakkad, Idukki and Wayanad for tomorrow.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has also issued an orange alert for heavy rainfall for various districts of Kerala.
District Rainfall Forecast of Kerala pic.twitter.com/k0MvmuAmtO
— Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (@KeralaSDMA) August 7, 2020
Heavy rain and landslides have disrupted normal life in Kurichiyarmala area of Wayanad. Two houses have been damaged so far in the region.
Streets in Malappuram’s Nilambur also witnessed waterlogging due to incessant rainfall.
The Shiva Temple in Ernakulam’s Aluva has been submerged in water as the water level rose in Periyar River following incessant rains.