Kerala’s most preferred tourist destination, Munnar faces the wrath of nature after major landslide crashes portion of its Pettimudi hills. By Tanvi Jain
Kerala: Rescue workers at the landslide site in Rajamala, Idukki district shift bodies on make-shift slings.
— ANI (@ANI) August 7, 2020
A major landslide in Pettimudi hills of Munnar’s Rajamala region in Idukki district has killed at least five people. As per reports, rescue workers have claimed that a church, along with four lanes of quarters are buried under the mud, and as many as 80 are feared to be trapped.
Kerala’s most popular tourist destination, Munnar is home to some of the most breathtaking tea plantations in the country and is populated mostly by tea estate labourers and tribals from Edamalakudy gram panchayat.
So far, at least seven people have been safely rescued and shifted to the hospital. The tragedy struck in the wee hours of Friday, and as people were sleeping, not many were able to save themselves from the landslide that crashed a portion of Pettimudi on the workers’ colony.
Kerala: A team of National Disaster Response Force arrives at the landslide site in Rajamala, Idukki district.
5 people have lost their lives, 10 people rescued so far. pic.twitter.com/rsZg1MCGvw
— ANI (@ANI) August 7, 2020
Moreover, even the Periyavara bridge was not spared, due to which now it has become difficult for rescue workers to reach the location to carry on with operations; in fact, even the communication networks have crashed. Moreover, the Pettimudi estate, which lies en route Eravikulam National Park, is one of the hardest places to access as it has unpaved narrow roads surrounded by thick forests, and even the healthcare system in the area is underdeveloped.
However, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed via a tweet that, “An NDRF team has been deployed to rescue the landslide victims in Rajamalai, Idukki. Police, Fire Force, Forest & Revenue officials have been instructed to join the rescue efforts. Another team of NDRF, based in Thrissur, will soon reach Idukki.”
“A 50-member strong special task force team of the Fire Force has been dispatched to Rajamalai in Idukki for rescue efforts. They have been equipped for nighttime rescue activities,” his tweet further read.
A 50 member strong special task force team of the Fire Force has been dispatched to Rajamalai in Idukki for rescue efforts. They have been equipped for nighttime rescue activities. #KeralaRains pic.twitter.com/olo1eraMNV
— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) August 7, 2020
Meanwhile, the authorities have already issued a red alert across Idukki, Malappuram and Wayanad, as according to the MeT department, all the three districts are expected to receive extremely heavy rainfall above 20 centimetres within the next 24 hours.
However, places such as Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, Kottayam, Palakkad, Thrissur, Kannur, Kozhikode and Kasaragod, have been put under orange alert amid prediction of heavy to very heavy rainfall by the weather department.
‘God’s own country’ has experienced similar tragedies in the past monsoons as well. Last year a landslide in Malappuram had killed at least 49 people, and back in 2018, the state had witnessed its worst-ever flooding that had claimed around 483 lives.