Headlines August 8, 2020
Heavy rains cause landslide in Kerala, 15 dead
Heavy rain caused a landslide in Kerala’s Idukki district early Friday morning. Officials say the landslide happened in the Rajamalai area of the district, which is around 25 km from the tourist town of Munnar. Bodies of at least 15 people were recovered from the area. The numbers are likely to rise. The incident happened at around 2 am on Friday and the rescue operations happened almost eight hours later only.
Pained by the loss of lives due to a 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- Narendra Modi, Prime Minister.
An amount of Rs 2 lakh from central government and Rs 5 lakh from state government for families for deceased were announced.
Between 70 and 80 people lived in the area, officials said, adding that they do not know, at this point, how many are trapped under the mud. Taluk officials said a connecting bridge was swept away yesterday, making access to the area difficult. Rescue teams have also been slowed by tough terrain.
Nearly 12 people who are critical have been rescued and shifted to hospitals in nearby Kottayam and Kolencherry. Meanwhile, others are undergoing treatment at Munnar’s Tata General Hospital.
A 50-member strong special task force of the state fire service, who have been equipped for night-time work are among those sent, Chief Minister Pinaryai Vijayan said. The Chief Minister’s Office has also sought assistance from IAF helicopters to aid in rescue and relief efforts.
An NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) team has reached the landslide site. Vijayan tweeted that a second team, based in Thrissur, was also en route and police, fire service personnel and forest and revenue officials had been instructed to join rescue efforts.
Health Minister KK Shailaja has said a mobile medical team and 15 ambulances had been sent to Idukki, with more ready if needed. She also directed other hospitals to be ready to treat survivors.
On Thursday heavy rains caused a temporary bridge in the district to collapse, state authorities said. Some districts of the state are on red alert for likely extremely heavy rainfall today.
Idukki district also saw floods in low-lying areas like Munnar, which is a popular tourist destination near Rajamalai, because of rising water levels of a nearby river.
Night travel has been banned in Idukki district, the state disaster management authority was quoted by news agency PTI, adding that several roads and highways had been closed due to rains.
Heavy rain also lashed Ernakulam district, with a Shiva temple in Aluva being fully flooded after significantly increased water levels in the Periyar River. Rain and landslides also disrupted life in Wayanad district where houses and buildings have been damaged so far, according to ANI.
Parts of Pathanamthitta and Kottayam are also submerged under water.
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