Twenty dead, more than 40 missing in southern Indian landslide

New Delhi – Twenty bodies have been recovered from the debris of a landslide that flattened a tea plantation workers’ settlement in southern India this week, and the search for more than 40 missing people is continuing, a local official said on Saturday.

"We have rescued 12 people so far, all of them on Friday. We estimate around 46 people are still missing," Antony Scaria, senior administrative official of Kerala state’s Idukki district said.
Teams of rescue and relief workers from the National Disaster Response Force, the fire department, police and local agencies were continuing search operations.
Incessant monsoon rains triggered the landslide in the Pettamudi hills. A river of mud and debris buried part of the tea plantation in the early hours of Friday at a time when most workers were sleeping in their houses.
"A cluster of workers' quarters and a church were flattened by the landslide," Scaria said. Photographs showed rescue workers on a sea of mud with hardly any structures visible.
Landslides and floods are common during India’s annual monsoon season between June and September. The rains are vital for agriculture, but often cause immense destruction of property, cropland and loss of lives.
At least 780 people had died in incidents between the end of May and Thursday related to the monsoons across the country, according to the federal Home Ministry.

Saturday, August 8th 2020

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