The death toll in Idukki landslide rises to 15, says Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. At least 15 people were killed and over 50 others feared trapped in debris after a landslide triggered by heavy rains flattened a row of dwelling units of tea estate workers at Pettimudi in this high-range district in Kerala early Friday, police and officials said.
The incident is said to have occurred in the wee hours when a huge mound of earth fell on the “row houses” and two children and five women were among the deceased, most of whom were plantation workers from neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
Twelve people have been rescued and efforts were underway amid continuing rains to locate at least 52 others missing in the first major rain-related mishap since the onset of South West monsoon last month that brought back memories of havoc caused by floods in the previous two years in the state.
The state government said teams of National Disaster Response Force personnel have been deployed for the rescue operations and also sought an Indian Air Force helicopter. The death toll in rain-related incidents since June 1 this year has risen to 51.
One person died in a house collapse in Palakkad on Friday, officials said. Cooking utensils buried in mud, asbestos and tin sheets strewn around were all there to be seen at the area, which was the habitation of around 80 odd workers at the picturesque area near a tea plantation, about 30 kms from the tourist town of Munnar.
Big boulders are also scattered around the site. Idukki DistrictCollector H Dinesh said that the bodies of the victims had been retrieved and 12 have been rescued with injuries and shifted to hospital. “Most of the people are plantation workers and from neighbouring Tamil Nadu”, he said.
PM Narendra Modi said he was pained by loss of lives due to the 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.” The PMO also announced that an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from the PMNRF (Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund) would be given to the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to a landslide in Rajamalai, Idukki (Kerala). Rs. 50,000 each would be given to those injured due to the landslide.