The toll in the landslide in Kerala’s Idukki district rose to 58 on Sunday even as 12 others remained buried under debris over two weeks after the incident at a settlement of tea estate workers. Local people said more are missing as many had come as guests from other areas. Only a handful of residents, who were away, have survived. The victims included 31 persons of one extended family who lived in adjacent quarters, and six temporary staff at the Eravikulam National Park. Nineteen schoolchildren have either died or are still missing.
The landslide happened at 10:45 pm on August 6 at Pettimudi, a hamlet in Rajamala ward under Munnar village panchayat in Kerala’s Idukki district. Workers of Kanan Devan Hills Plantations Company (P) Ltd were living in Pettimudi. The location where the landslide was triggered, according to the Kerala Geology Department, has a 40° slope, and any slope above 20° is vulnerable to slipping during heavy rain. The soil has a high content of sand, which absorbs more water, takes a loose form, and is at risk of slipping down.
Also in Explained | Quixplained graphic: What are tabletop runways?