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Major landslide hits Kerala, leaving at least 15 people dead and more than 50 missing, India


Heavy rains triggered a major landslide in the Indian state of Kerala early Friday morning (LT), August 7, 2020. 15 casualties have been confirmed by 12:00 UTC but many others are still missing. 

The landslide occurred in the Rajamalai area of Idduki District, difficult to access due to rough terrain and harsh weather.

Between 70 to 80 people live in the area, officials said early Friday morning, adding that they do not know the exact number of those still trapped. 

"The landslide occurred at a place where tea plantation workers reside. At least three families are stranded there," said the district police superintendent.

Local media reported that at least 20 houses in four hamlets of plantation workers were washed away.

"It is a major tragedy. It is a hilly terrain and some roads connecting to the settlement were washed away in torrential rain. We have sought the Air Force help for airlifting the injured but we were told it will be difficult in inclement weather," said State Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been deployed to rescue the landslide victims, according to Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

"Police, fire, forest, and revenue officials were also instructed to intensify rescue operations," Vijayan said, adding that 15 ambulances have been sent to the site.

At least 15 fatalities have been confirmed, while 12 others have been rescued and taken to the hospital by 12:00 UTC. At least 53 others are still unaccounted for.

Heavy rains also affected communication links and downed power lines.

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Featured image credit: Hindustan Times/YouTube

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