Kerala: Idukki landslide toll climbs to 26, heavy rainfall disrupts search operations | Kochi News – Times of India

IDUKKI: The death toll in the landslide at Rajamala in Kerala’s Idukki district rose to 26 with the recovery of more bodies on Saturday.
The incident took place in the early hours of Friday at Pettimudy in Rajamala near Munnar in Idukki when a mound of earth caved in 30 houses in four tea estate layams (cluster of workers’ quarters).

Though one of the bodies was found just when the rescue workers were winding up on Friday night due to heavy rainfall. The inquest was done on Saturday.

“We prepared a burial ground near the landslide spot. After completing the post-mortem, the bodies were buried there itself. As per the present data, 44 people were missing,” Devikulam sub-collector S Premkrishnan told TOI.

“In the morning, there was no rainfall in the area and the weather condition was favourable for intensifying the rescue operations. But by evening, we had to stop all operations due to heavy rainfall in the region. The search operations will continue tomorrow,” said Premkrishnan. Meanwhile, all bodies have not been identified. Those who have been, are Gandhiraj (48), Sivakami (38), Ramalakshmi (40), Murukan (46), Mayil Swamy (48), Kannan (40), Annadurai (44) Rajeswari (43), Kausalya (25), Thapasiyammal (42), Nitheesh (25), Paneerselvam (50), Ganeshan (40) Raja (35), Vijila (47), Kuttiraj (48), Pavanthai (52) Shanmukaayyan (58), Manikandan (20), Deepak (18), Prabha (55), one unidentified woman and two kids Sindu (13) and Vishal (12).

A family of 21 members completely vanished in landslide
Mayilswami, his brother Ganesh, Ananthasivam and their families were trapped in the accident. He was the driver of Eravikulam National Park.
Six people – Mayilswami, Ganeshan, Rekha, Raja, Manikandan and Achuthan- from the Layams were the staff of the forest department. Among them, four were drivers and one woman was an eco-shop staff and one man was a driver. The bodies of Raja and Mayilswami have been recovered.
Sadly, the news of the horrific tragedy came to the knowledge of the outside world only on Friday morning due to the inaccessibility of the area. Some natives had walked to the forest department check post at Rajamala and informed the situation to the officials.
Immediately, Eravikulam national park range officer Job J Neriamparampil led the forest department team to rush to the spot first and start the rescue operations. The bad weather, collapse of a temporary bridge at Periyavarai and power failure leading to a breakdown of communication network made it difficult to access Pettimudy till alternate arrangements were readied on a war-footing.

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