Seventeen people were killed and over 50 feared trapped after a massive landslide in Munnar’s Rajamalai in Kerala on Thursday night.
The disaster took place at the Pettimudi Division of Kannan Devan’s tea estate at Neymakkadu, Onmanorama reported. The dwelling submerged beneath the debris were of plantation workers, most of whom from neighbouring Tamil Nadu, the Press Trust of India said.
Twelve people were rescued on Friday and efforts were underway amid continuing rains to locate at least 52 others missing in the first major rain-related mishap in the state.
The tragedy came to light after a forest watchman informed authorities about the landslide, PTI said. Communication lines in the area have been down for the past three days.
Mathrubhumi reported that Periyavaram bridge, which connects to the area, was destroyed during the 2018 floods and work on a new bridge had not been completed.
PTI’s report 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. Big boulders were also scattered around the site.
“At least 200-300 people live there. There are many lanes and a canteen at the location. Since one of the bridges to that area was destroyed last night, it has become difficult to access the region,” Munnar MLA S Rajendran told the media.
“The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been deployed for the rescue operations in Idukki. The team was already stationed at the district. Another NDRF team is also being moved to Idukki,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in a Facebook post.
Several parts of Kerala, particularly the northern districts, have received heavy rains since Tuesday.
The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority said on Friday that a red alert was issued to Idukki, Wayanad, Thrissur and Palakkad for Saturday, while eight other district have been put on orange alert.
A red alert is sounded for rainfall of over 20 cm while an...