Kerala landslides Photograph:( ANI )
Rescue operations are under way with the help of National Disaster Response Force and an IAF helicopter
The death toll in a landslide caused by torrential rains in the southern Indian state of Kerala rose to 18 on Saturday (August 8) and rescue workers searching for 50 others thought to be trapped under soil and debris, officials said.
The incident occurred in the late hours of Friday as the a huge portion of a mound fell on houses in the area due to heavy rainfall and strong winds. The area is mainly populated with plantation workers.
Among the deceased, there were two children, five women and ten men, as per the initial reports. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also reported that almost 15 people have been recused from under the debris.
The state government has put together a special rescue team with a designated leader.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted his condolences for those affected by the landslides. "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," he tweeted.
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 (@narendramodi) August 7, 2020
The PM’s Office said in a tweet that an ex gratia of $2,665 (INR 2 lakh) each from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund would be given to the next of kin of those killed in the landslide. A sum of $666 (INR 50,000) each would be given to the injured.
The Chief Minister has also announced initial solatium of $ 6663 (INR 5 lakh) each for the kin of the dead. Treatment expenses for the injured would be borne by the government, he said.
Rescue operations are under way with the help of National Disaster Response Force and an Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter. Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department sounded a red alert for Idukki.