KOCHI: The Army and National Disaster and Relief Force (NDRF) personnel launc-hed massive search and rescue operations in Wayanad and Malappuram districts on Friday amidst fears that many people were trapped under the slush and mud of landslides.
The toll in the rain and landslips mounted to 28 on Friday as rescue tea-ms recovered nine bodies from the debris at Put-humala, Wayanad, while seven were reported missing and 28 injured, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters in Thiruvanathapuram.
The rescue teams took out a person alive from the landslide debris at Puthumala and he was rushed to Mananthavady hospital. Rescue operations at Kavalappara were suspended due to adverse weather.
There were fears that 40 people were trapped in the debris. The bodies of three children were recovered on Friday.
According P.V. Anwar MLA, even the rescue workers were unable to get a toehold in the area as slush and mud at 12-13 feet high engulfed the place. Nearly 50 houses were buried in the mud. The three bodies were recovered from a house on the roadside buried under the mud.
According to eyewitness accounts, a small hillock of the size of 100 acres was washed away at Puthumala in the landslip burying everything, including a temple, church and a post-office building.
Nearly 64,000 people were shifted to relief camps in various parts of the state. The maximum number of people in the relief camps is in Wayanad.
The meteorological office has issued a red alert in Ernakulam, Idukki, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Kannur districts and warned of heavy to very heavy rainfall on Saturday. Orange alert was issued in five other districts with the possibility of isolated heavy rainfall.
The Army and Coast Guard have pressed several units for the rescue work while Indian Air Force has been put on high alert to meet any eventuality. Army personnel from Kannur moved to Wayanad, Kannur, Iritty, Kozhikode and Virajpet and Coorg districts of Karnataka. Another three columns from Pangode reached Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta and Ernakulam. The Coast Guard deployed 16 teams which rescued 500 people. Ten teams are kept in readiness in Kochi and three teams on standby at Vizhinjam....