Rain batters Kerala, death toll at 30

Rescuers help people to cross a flooded area after a landslide caused by torrential monsoon rains in Meppadi in Wayanad, Kerala. Reuters photo

At least 30 people were killed and nearly 100 were reported missing in Kerala on Friday as the state continues to be in the grip of nature’s fury. 

Two major landslides occurred at Wayanad and Malappuram districts on Thursday evening. But rescue operations could not be initiated till Friday evening owing to rough weather and as road and bridges were also destroyed.

According to locals, close to 100 people might be stuck under the debris.

Several parts of Wayanad, Malappuram and Idukki were cut off from the rest of the world as roads and bridges were damaged and communication infrastructure was down.

At Putthumala near Mepadi in Wayanad, about 20 km from Kalpetta town, a major landslide occurred on Thursday afternoon. A temple, church and scores of houses were razed in the landslide. Eight bodies, including that of three of a family, were recovered from the area till Friday afternoon as rescue workers could reach the spot only by morning.

Locals expressed fears that at least 40 people were still missing. Efforts to check whether they shifted to any other safe locations were futile.

Kerala Transport Minister A K Saseendran, who visited the area, said that due to the rough weather there was a hindrance in rescue operations and help from Air Force has been sought.

The other major landslide occurred at Kavalapara in the interior areas of Malappuram district near Nilambur. Though the incident took place on Thursday evening, rescue workers could reach the spot only by Friday afternoon. While three bodies, including that of an elderly woman and two children, were recovered, locals fear that close to 50 people might have been trapped beneath the debris.

The IMD has sounded a red alert in seven districts — Wayanad, Malappuram, Idukki, Ernakulam, Kannur, Kozhikode and Palakkad — on Saturday as well.

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