Dozens of houses were destroyed and at least 25 people remain missing, Indian officials said

By Joelle Goldstein
August 10, 2020 11:56 AM
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Landslide in Kerala, India
Pinarayi Vijayan/Twitter

More than 40 people were killed and at least another 25 remain missing after a massive landslide, triggered by torrential rains, swept through a state in India last week, according to reports.

The fatal incident occurred late Thursday evening in Kerala after the area received approximately eight inches of rainfall, according to Reuters.

The landslide came barreling into a tea plantation settlement in the Idukki district, where a majority of the workers were sleeping, CNN reported.

Dozens of homes were wiped out, while another 11 people were sent to local hospitals with injuries, according to the outlet.

Search teams in India
Pinarayi Vijayan/Twitter

On Friday, district collector H Dineshan told Reuters that 15 bodies had been recovered and another 51 people were feared to be trapped.

"One team of National Disaster Relief Force have reached the site. Helicopters cannot be deployed as the climate is very misty," he explained to the outlet in a statement.

That number has since risen with Kerala's Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announcing on Twitter Sunday that at least 43 people were now confirmed dead from the landslide, as officials continue to search for those feared buried.

"Despite inclement weather and harsh conditions, the search for those who went missing is progressing," Vijayan wrote beside several photos showing search teams sifting through the mud, rocks and debris.

"This rescue effort is a joint operation of NDRF, Fire Force, Police, Revenue & Forest Departments," Vijayan added.

Photos at the scene of the landslide
Pinarayi Vijayan/Twitter
Photos at the scene of the landslide
Pinarayi Vijayan/Twitter

District lawmaker Dean Kuriakose said at least 25 people are currently missing and over 500 personnel from local forces and the National Disaster Response Force have been working on the search efforts, according to CNN.

For the past few weeks, Kerala has been slammed with heavy rainfall and flooding.

Last Tuesday, Vijayan explained on Twitter that it was "monsoon season" and urged residents to be proactive and prepare for emergencies.

On Friday, just one day after the landslide hit, Vijayan tweeted that residents should "prepare for more downpours" and that "heavy rains have increased the likelihood for debris flows, soil erosion & landslides."

That same day, a plane with nearly 200 passengers overshot the runway in rainy conditions and crashed before breaking into two pieces. At least 17 people were killed and at least another 46 were injured from the incident.

Vijayan also shared another alert on Sunday, explaining that "forecasters predict heavy rains across the state."

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Though areas in South Asia often rely on the annual monsoons to cultivate their crops and agriculture, the intense rains have recently caused a great deal of devastation in India, CNN reported.

In 2018, Kerala received an "unusually high rainfall" leading to the worst flooding the state had seen in almost a century, according to the outlet. More than 300 people were killed and hundreds of thousands more became displaced from their homes.

A year later, Kerala and surrounding states were hit with heavy rains again, ultimately killing at least 150 people and destroying hundreds of homes, CNN reported.

This year has been no different, with monsoon rains slamming the area since May, according to the outlet. As a result of the deadly flooding, more than 2.4 million people have been affected and over 100 wild animals have been killed.