Fifteen people have died and several are feared trapped after heavy rainfall caused a massive landslide in Kerala’s Idukki district on Friday, Onmanorama reported. The landslide occurred at a tea plantation in Rajamala area near Munnar, where around 80 people live. Sixteen people have been rescued so far.
The people rescued in the landslide are receiving treatment at the Tata General Hospital in Munnar, according to ANI. Preliminary information suggested that a large chunk of soil from the landslide had fallen on the residents while they were sleeping around 4.30 am, reports said.
A 50-member team comprising fire and rescue officials, a team of the National Disaster Response Force and medical teams from Ernakulam and Kottayam have been deployed to Rajamala in Idukki district, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office said.
Vijayan announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the families of people killed in the landslide, ANI reported. “The state government will bear the expense of treatment of those injured due to the landslide,” he added.
Vijayan has also sought help from the Air Force to rescue marooned people. “It is a major tragedy,” Kerala Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan said, according to Hindustan Times. “It is a hilly terrain and some roads connecting to the settlement were washed away in torrential rain. We have sought the Air Force help for airlifting the injured but we were told it will be difficult in inclement weather.”
Parthasarathy, a social worker from the area, said most of the workers in the tea plantation are from Tamil Nadu.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the deaths in the landslide and announced financial help for the affected families. “Ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from 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,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted. “Rs. 50,000 each would be given to those injured due to the landslide.”
The India Meteorological Department has issued a red alert for Kerala till Sunday. Night travel has been banned in Idukki district, PTI reported. Meanwhile, several roads and highways had been closed due to torrential rains for the last three days.