Toll in Kottayam rises to 13

Six of family dead at Kavali and four killed at Plappally in landslips

Published - October 17, 2021 08:13 pm IST - KOTTAYAM

About 24 hours after a series of landslips hit the villages on the Kottayam-Idukki border on Saturday, the death toll in rain-related incidents in the district rose to 13 with rescue workers recovering more bodies from the mud, tree trunks and debris that covered the region.

As per official records, the landslip at Kavali claimed the lives of six members of a family while the disaster that struck Plappally claimed four lives. Three others from Valyentha, Ilamkadu and Kanjirappally lost their lives after being caught in heavy currents.

The bodies that were taken to the Government Medical College Hospital here and the Kanjirappally taluk hospital were handed over to relatives after post-mortem examination.

Eyewitnesses’ accounts suggested that heavy rain, purportedly triggered by a mini-cloudburst, caused the Pullakayar river, which courses down the Koottickal and Kokkayar villages to burst its banks. The torrent of mud, water and debris unleashed on the village swept away the six-member family of Ottalunkal Martin, including his wife Sini Martin, 45, three daughters Sona, Sandra and Sneha, and Claramma, 55.

Other persons who were killed were identified as Sisily, 50, Roshni Venu, 48, Allen Jobi, 14, Sonia Jobi, 45, Sarasamma Mohan, 62, Rajamma, 64 and Shallet, 29.

₹4-lakh assistance

Revenue Minister K. Rajan announced a financial assistance of ₹4 lakh to the family members of the deceased. Arrangements have been made to provide treatment to those injured.

The rescue-and-relief operations, which had been suspended following bad light and inclement weather on Saturday evening, resumed by 8 a.m. on Sunday. The searches were led by a combined team of the National Disaster Response Force, the Kerala Fire and Rescue Services and local residents.

The rescue teams combed through the debris using heavy machines and helped the people who had been removing the huge mounds of mud with hands.

A team led by the Revenue Minister, Cooperation Minister V.N. Vasavan and Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine coordinated the rescue efforts.

The deluge had destroyed several houses, pulled trees out by their roots, and washed vehicles away. With the run-off water and mud sweeping through most of the houses in the village, several residents were evacuated and shifted to relief camps.

Restoration work

While the search for missing persons concluded by Sunday evening, efforts are on to restore the roads leading to the village. The landslip also caused power-supply disruption and destroyed the area’s fresh water network, creating dangerous and unsanitary conditions.

As many as 35 relief camps were opened in the district, which together accommodated 2,146 members from 548 families.

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