Kerala rains | Idukki landslip toll goes up to 43, many still missing

Rescue workers look for survivors at the site of a landslide in Kerala’s Idukki district on August 9, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

With the recovery of 17 more bodies on Sunday, the number of fatalities due to Thursday’s landslip that buried the housing quarters of tea estate workers in Pettimudy in Idukki has gone up to 43. According to officials, 23 persons are still missing, including six Forest Department staff who were staying with the workers.

Despite incessant rain and mist hampering the search operations in this remote hilly terrain in Kerala, efforts to drain water from the area began on Sunday. Around 200 members of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) searched the nearly three-acre site, which is covered by debris. Seven earthmovers were engaged for the search operation, but manoeuvring them on the waterlogged terrain is proving to be difficult.

The deployment of the dog squad of the district police in the search operation helped trace some victims. Drones were also used. Eight bodies were found in a nearby stream into which the gushing waters from the landslip poured in.

Watch | Massive landslip near Munnar in Idukki district

All the recovered bodies are being buried in a mass burial site at Pettimudy. A team of doctors are camping in the area and a mobile mortuary has been set up to conduct autopsies.

Forest Minister K. Raju who visited the spot said six Forest Department staff from the estate lanes were among the missing while the bodies of others had been recovered. He promised assistance to the families of the victims.

Adverse climate and lack of electricity have also hampered the search operation. District Collector H. Dinesan said the search would continue in the coming days. “The area is muddy and with rain continuing, search operation is difficult,” he said.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2020 5:53:04 PM |

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