10 Aug 2020
Kerala: Toll in Idukki landslide rises to 43, many missing
The landslide that occurred in Kerala on Friday, August 7, has claimed 43 lives so far, multiple reports said.
The disaster took place as a hillock on the tea estate near Munnar collapsed due to incessant rains, burying dozens of people.
Rescue and relief work in the area was impeded for a whole day because of bad weather.
Landslide occurred when the Pettimudy Hill caved in after rain
Heavy rain had caused a part of the Pettilmudy hillock in Rajamalai, Idukki district, to come down, burying a large number of workers under it.
17 dead bodies were uncovered under the slush yesterday with the help of sniffer dogs, S Premkrishnan, Devikulam Sub-Collector, told Times of India.
However, around 30 people are still missing and the search is on, he added.
Search for missing persons underway: Forest Minister
"All agencies of the state and a 200-strong NDRF team are actively engaged in the search, which has been expanded now. Incessant rain and poor visibility have affected the search,'' said Forest Minister K Raju. He visited the spot on Sunday.
Number of missing people could be higher, warned district administration
The landslide had destroyed at least 30 layams (houses of tea estate workers) and the damage could be worse. The body of a six-month-old has also been recovered, an HT report said.
Meanwhile, the Idukki district administration warned that the number of missing people could rise since many students had returned to their homes in the area due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier, government announced a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh
On Saturday, the day after the landslide, the Kerala government announced a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh for the families of the victims.
On this, Union Minister V Muraleedharan slammed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, saying he was discriminating against the poor as the families of the Kozhikode plane crash victims received Rs. 10 lakh.
Vijayan refuted the charges, calling it an "initial announcement."
Separately, IMD has issued red and orange alerts
Meanwhile, as rains continued to lash Kerala, there is a fear that low-lying lands would be flooded.
Floods in certain areas could result in landslides similar to the Idukki one, say reports.
IMD has issued a red alert for districts like Kasargod, Kannur, Wayanad, and Kozhikode, while an orange alert was issued for places like Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, and Palakkad, reports HT.