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India: Massive landslide kills 17, many missing

Local emergency official says 12 people rescued so far, at least 50 still missing

Ahmad Adil   | 07.08.2020
India: Massive landslide kills 17, many missing FILE PHOTO

NEW DELHI

The death toll from a massive landslide Friday in the southern Indian state of Kerala rose to 17, according to a senior police officer in the area.

The landslide in the hilly Munnar area of Rajamalai, Idukki in the morning was caused by heavy monsoon rains.

“The death toll has reached 17,” Idukki district police chief Karuppasamy R. told Anadolu Agency. “The rescue operation has stopped for the day and will resume tomorrow morning.”

According to Kerala's State Emergency Operation Center, at least 50 more people continue to remain missing.

“We have rescued 12 people so far from the area,” said an official from the center on the condition of anonymity as he was not allowed to speak to the media.

The local authorities have dispatched an additional 50-member special task force team to the area to support search and rescue operations.

Several areas of the country are witnessing floods due to the yearly monsoon rains, with flooding and landslides a common occurrence during the season.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday expressed sympathy for the loss of lives.

“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 [National Disaster Response Force] and the administration are working on the ground, providing assistance to the affected,” he tweeted.

He also announced a relief for the deceased.

“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 [some $660] each would be given to those injured due to the landslide,” said Modi.

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