Toll in Idukki landslide rises to 52 as three more bodies recovered

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Rescuers work at the site of a mudslide triggered by heavy monsoon rain in Idukki district, in the southern Indian state of Kerala, Friday, Aug. 7, 2020. A mudslide triggered by heavy monsoon rain and flooding killed at least 15 people and buried 20 homes of tea plantation workers in southern India on Friday, police said. (AP Photo)

The toll in the landslip in Pettimudi in the high range Idukki district rose to 52 with three more bodies being recovered from the debris as rescue operations continued on Tuesday to trace those missing. The bodies of two men and a woman were recovered, officials said.

Personnel of NDRF, Fire, Forest and police departments have expanded their search operations to the downstream of a river in their efforts to trace 19 more people who were still missing in the August 7 tragedy near Rajamala, they said.

Search is also being carried out at the site of the disaster to trace those feared trapped in the debris, the officials said.

Meanwhile, the water level at Mullaperiyar reservoir in Idukki district reached 136.85 feet on Tuesday. The Idukki district Collector had held discussions with the Collector of Theni in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, with regard to the release of water through the tunnel to Vaigai dam when the water level touched the 136-feet mark.

The Kerala government had on Saturday asked the Tamil Nadu government to release water from Mullaperiyar to Vaigai Dam in a phased manner when the water level reached 136 feet in view of heavy rains in Idukki.

With a let-up in the rains, water receded in many low-lying areas of Kottayam and Alappuzha districts.

There was no red alert warning in any of the state’s 14 districts as the intensity of rains had decreased and the affected areas had started limping back to normalcy.

A 151-year-old chapel of a CSI Church collapsed in the wee hours Tuesday due to the forceful inflow of the water following the breach of bunds in Pallathuruthy in Alappuzha district. Built in 1869, the chapel was used by some 30 families for conducting their religious rituals, a report from Alappuzha said.

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