The toll from the landslide in Kerala’s Idukki district rose to 49 on Monday, the National Disaster Response Force said. Six staff members of the state’s forest department are among the people killed in the landslide, according to Onmanorama.
The landslide happened at the Nayamakkad tea estate in Idukki on Friday. The estate is located about 30 km from Munnar, adjacent to the Eravikulam National Park, and can be accessed only through the national park. But since the park is closed and a bridge at Periyavarai connecting the areas was washed away, there is no direct access.
Eravikulam National Park Range Officer J Neriamparambil told The News Minute that the staff members included tourist bus drivers, a protection watcher and a worker at the park’s eco-shop. “The forest staff from the Pettimudi settlement were active members of the department and it was a big loss to us,” the officer said.
NDRF Director General Satya Narayan Pradhan said about 17 people are still missing.
A 50-member team comprising fire and rescue officials, a team of the National Disaster Response Force and medical teams from Ernakulam and Kottayam had been sent to Rajamala in Idukki district on Friday. The rescue operations, however, were stopped due to bad weather. Authorities have had difficulties in carrying out rescue operations since the rain and flooding made the area inaccessible.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, held a meeting with the chief ministers of Kerala, Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka to discuss arrangements to tackle floods, ANI reported.