Kochi: Torrential rains lashing Kerala tore loose a hillside looking over the worker quarters of a tea plantation in Idukki district in the early hours of Friday, and buried dozens of workers. By mid-afternoon 10 workers were confirmed dead and the worst is feared for several more.
The landslide took place at a plantation owned by Kannan Devan Hills Plantation Company at Rajamala near Munnar. Local media reports said the lane houses (layams) of plantation workers took the brunt of the landslide in the Pettimudi plantation division.There were 84 persons living in the lane houses and 67 of them are trapped in the mud.
Four bodies have been recovered from the site, regional media reports quoting the tehsildar of Devikulam. Roads and telephone lines to this area have been cut off due to the lashing rain for the past two days.
Ten injured workers have been admitted in the Tata High Range Hospital, Munnar. National Disaster Response Force teams, police, fire and rescue personnel have left for the site. Estate workers are now coordinating rescue work. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought the help of IAF to run helicopter rescue missions to the landslinde side.
With the monsoon playing havoc in Kerala, dam shutters have been opened and residents have been evacuated from flood zones.
Heavy downpours continued to batter Kerala with several landslides reported from high ranges, flooding in low-lying areas, erosion along coastal areas and strong winds causing widespread destruction to buildings and agriculture.
All districts of the state are being lashed by heavy rains over the past two days and the India Meteorology Department (IMD) has forecast extremely heavy rains in the state till Tuesday.
A red alert has been issued in Malappuram district while an orange alert is up for eight districts: Ernakulam, Idukki, Thrissur, Palakkad, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasargod.
Though the earlier IMD forecast for heavy rains was till Sunday, the warning has been extended till Tuesday as another low-pressure system has formed in the Bay of Bengal.
Especally, high-range areas in the state are receiving heavy rains in the past two days. Water levels in all dams and rivers are increasing as catchment areas are being pounded by rain.
Relief camps have been set up in many areas in Ernakulam district as te swollen river Periyar and Muvattupuzha river inundated many houses....