Scary details of Kerala landslip benumb one and all

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on August 14, 2019 Published on August 13, 2019

An aerial view of the site of landslide at Muthappankunnu, in Kavalappara of Malappuram district; (right) A volunteer peering into a mangled car recovered from underneath the rubble   -  PTI/ Thulasi Kakkat

Malappuram, Kerala, 13 August 2019: Rescue workers wnd volunteers at work at the landslide site at Kavalappara in Malappuram where 21 dead bodies have been recovered and 38 are still missing. The picture has a volunteer peering into a mangled car recovered from underneeth the rubble to see if theres a body trapped inside. Photo: Thulasi Kakkat


Relief workers in Kavalappara in flood-hit Malappuram district in Kerala on Monday were nonplussed when they stumbled on a body of young man in a sitting posture on a motor bike in his own courtyard.

This went only to prove how frighteningly intense and fatefully swift was the massive landslip that occurred there last weekend, rescue and relief workers operating in the area said.

Frighteningly swift

Eye witnesses said the deceased Thannickal Priyadarshan was about to dismount the bike standing next to his car shed at home when high water, loose earth, huge rocks and other debris engulfed his house in a jiffy.

“All was over in under a minute,” said Riju, a close friend of Priyadarshan, who watched the deadly episode live but couldn’t believe what had just unfolded not too far away from his own home.

Riju believes it is providence that spared him from the disaster and said he has still not been able to come to terms with it. One side of the hillock gave after a seemingly non-stop heavy rain battered the fragile Kavalappara.

That Priyadarshan did not get any time even to dismount the bike was evident in the way his body was recovered with a rain coat on, relief workers said. He had reached home on the fateful day at around 7.45 pm calling out for his mother.

Priyadarshan was speaking with Riju when he cut himself short saying he had something important to convey to his mother. Hardly had Priyadarshan reached home when the massive debris flow consumed him, his house and at least two kin.

At the time of the tragedy, Priyadarshan’s mother Raginy and grandmother were present at the house. Raginy’s body was recovered on Sunday but relief workers are still searching for her mother’s body.

As of Tuesday, 20 bodies have been recovered from the site of the tragedy at Kavalappara. At least 39 more people are still unaccounted for, and search operations have been intensified with rains relenting in the region.

Death toll in the floods that unfolded on the anniversary of the century’s worst event last year has risen to 91, with an estimated 2.52 lakh people having moved to 1,332 relief camps in the state.

The toll is likely to go up since a number of people are still missing in Kavalappara (Malappuram district) and Muthumala (Wayanad), another area that witnessed the monsoon fury and a huge landslip.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan visited the worst-hit regions in Malappuram and WayanadWednesday, and said he has not been able to come to terms with the intensity and scale of the tragedy that hit Kavalappara.

Meanwile, India Met Department had declared a ‘red alert’ for two districts (Malappuram and Kozhikode) and ‘orange’ alert for six others, including Wayanad, on Wednesday, in view of a fresh low-pressure area over Central India.

Published on August 13, 2019
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