Family of 5 killed in Idukki landslide that swept away house, found 500m away
A resident of Kerala’s Idukki district said they heard a loud noise in the night around the time the landslide hit the area but realised the extent of the damage only when they stepped out early on Monday
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Five members of a family were killed early on Monday after a landslide swept out their house in Idukki district in heavy rains that continue to pound many hilly areas of Kerala.
Officials said the landslide that washed away a house took place in Kanjar village in the district’s Thodupuzha area around 3.30am. The bodies of family members of T Soman were found some distance away by rescue workers, some as far as 500 metres.
Police said the Kanjar residents who lost their lives were identified as Thankamma, 80, her son, Soman, 52, his wife Shaji, 50, their daughter Shima, 30, and Devanand, 5.
“Though we heard a loud noise in the night, we realised the damage only in the morning. There is no trace of the house,” said a resident of the area.
Local residents said the area has been witnessing heavy rains since Sunday night and the house was not in an area considered prone to landslides.
Idukki district collector Sheeba George said many residents in landslide-prone areas were shifted to relief camps.
The regional weather office in Thiruvananthapuram said rains will continue in Kerala for four more days and an yellow alert was sounded in nine of the state’s 14 districts.
The state is on high alert as retracting monsoons rains have strengthened in the last three years triggering death and destruction..
In August last year, 24 people were killed after landslides and flash floods hit many areas of Kottayam and Idukki districts. The state government has asked district collectors to open more relief camps if the wet conditions continue.
Though the monsoon began early in the state on May 29, it weakened and led to rainfal deficit of 56% in June. But last two weeks of July received heavy downfall reducing the deficit margin to 26% and in August it was reduced to 20%. But weather officials said instead of steady downpour, heavy rainfall in short duration does more harm than good and destroys crops.