The toll from the landslide in Kerala’s Idukki district, which took place last week, rose to 61 on Tuesday as rescuers recovered three more bodies, the National Disaster Response Force said. Nine people are still missing while 12 others have been rescued.
The bodies found by rescue teams included those of a six-year-old boy and a 57-year-old man, PTI reported. The third body is yet to be identified.
Earlier on Tuesday, two ground-penetrating radars brought in from the Institute of Oceanography in Chennai and a four-member team joined the rescue mission, Idukki Collector H Dinesh said. Tuesday was the 12th day of the rescue operation in Idukki. The operation is being carried out jointly by the NDRF, the forest department, the police and fire officials.
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The landslide occurred at the Nayamakkad tea estate in Idukki after heavy downpour on August 7. The landslide destroyed a complete row of the small houses of estate workers. Only 12 of the total 82 workers managed to escape. Four of them are still in hospital.
The tea estate is situated 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 due to heavy rain, there is no direct access to the tea estate.
According to government data released on August 12, as many as 868 people across 11 states in India have died due to floods between May and August 12. West Bengal reported the maximum deaths at 245, followed by Assam (136), Kerala (101), Gujarat (98), Karnataka (86), Madhya Pradesh (77), Uttarakhand (46), Tamil Nadu (24), Bihar (24), Arunachal Pradesh (17) and Uttar Pradesh (14). The heavy rain has also affected lakhs of people and damaged thousands of acres of crops across the country.
Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had held a virtual meeting with chief ministers of Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala to review the flood situation in the states. The prime minister suggested better coordination between all central and state agencies, a permanent system for forecasting of floods and extensive use of innovative technologies for improving forecast and warning system.