Experience and dedication to the fore at Kavalappara

Fire and Rescue Services personnel retrieve a body from Kavalappara  

Human experience and dedication won where the machine failed. The men of Kerala Fire and Rescue Services dug out six more bodies from the landslip-ravaged Kavalappara, near Nilambur, on Sunday. The ground penetrating radar (GPR) equipment brought by a team from the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), Hyderabad, failed to detect any bodies buried under the massive debris.

Personnel of the State’s Fire and Rescue Services, which continued its search with 13 heavy-duty excavators, concrete cutters and saws, have so far unearthed 46 bodies from Kavalappara, which witnessed one of the most disastrous landslips ever in the State on August 8 evening.

Mud, the dampner

The six-member team from NGRI led by Anand Kumar Pandey could not make any headway with the GPR machine as the signals proved ineffective in the mud. A team member said GPR, which uses radar signals to image the subsurface area of the earth, would be effective in solid earth. Any buried material, other than soil, can be imaged using electromagnetic radio signals. However, the situation at Kavalappara was different with mud and slime having covered a vast area measuring over 20 hectares. Water was widely present in the lower area of the site through which a stream was flowing. Besides, it rained heavily at Kavalappara and neighbouring areas on Sunday afternoon.

The Fire and Rescue brigade, assisted by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and volunteers, has unearthed 46 bodies so far by following conventional methods.

How they worked

“We made a sketch of the area with the help of the local people and the relatives of the victims. We dug up for the bodies pinpointing the locations of the houses, and calculating the possibilities of movement in the force of the landslip,” said Arun Bhaskar and Moosa Vadakkethil, Palakkad and Malappuram District Fire Officers respectively.

District authorities on Sunday confirmed the death of 58 persons, including 46 at Kavalappara, in the recent rain fury in Malappuram. According to official figures, 13 more people are missing at Kavalappara.

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Printable version | Oct 15, 2021 12:45:50 AM |

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