Heavy rains in several parts of Kerala have triggered floods and landslides which have wreaked havoc in the region over the past few days. The news of the landslide came to knowledge of the outside world only on Friday morning after some local residents walked to a forest department check post at Rajamala and informed officials about the disaster.
"At least 200-300 people live there". Unidentified officials in the IAF said the Southern Air Command was waiting for the weather to clear.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi expressed anguish at the loss of lives in the landslide.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said: "The National Disaster Response Force has been deployed for the rescue operations in Idukki. There are many lanes and a canteen at the location". The team was already stationed at the district. "Another NDRF team is also being moved to Idukki".
"Ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh [some $2,600] each from PMNRF [Prime Minister's National Relief Fund] would be given to the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to a landslide in Rajamalai, Idukki". Rs 50,000 will be given to the injured.
The monsoon across South Asia is critical to replenishing rivers and groundwater, but also causes widespread death and destruction.
We are not sure many people were present there at the time of the landslide.
One of the worst affected district in the last two years of flooding, Pathanamthitta, is posed for another deluge as overflowing rivers have submerged roads and public places.
In the four-month-long Southwest monsoon season, which began in June first week, Kerala has reported a total of 51 deaths till Thursday night due to various incidents of drowning, landslides, and tree fall.
Close to 500 people had died in the 2018 floods while about 120 perished the following year.
In Ernakulam district, as the water level in the Periyar river rose, the famous Shiva temple on the river bank has been nearly submerged.
The India Meteorological Department has sounded a red alert in the region.
Taking precautionary measures, the Ernakulam administration has opened camps at Aluva and Muvattupuzha.
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