Pettimudi landslide: Locals demand rescue operations using helicopter


The rescue operations are now being carried out by Police and Fire service personnel and workers from a nearby estate.

Munnar: Five people were killed when a mound of earth caved in on a row of houses of tea estate workers at Pettimudi in Rajamala in Idukki district early on Friday.

At least 70 people were suspected to be trapped under the soil, burying as many as 20 houses of plantation workers. Heavy rains which had been pounding the area triggered the landslide.

Panchayat member Parthasarathy demanded that rescue operations here be carried out using a helicopter. With the collapse of Periyavaram bridge, the road connectivity to the landslide spot was cut off. Though the bridge was partially restored, ambulances and other rescue vehicles are unable to make their way through.

The rescue operations are now being carried out by Police and Fire service personnel and workers from a nearby estate.

Sources said that 83 people were residing in shelters set up for labourers working in plantations in the area. Landslides occurred in Rajamala around 2 am on Friday. However, the accident at Pettimudi came to light only around 6 am. An NDRF team is headed to the area.

Most of the inhabitants were natives of Tamil Nadu. No information has been received from the area as there is no electricity. The district Collector informed that rescue workers will reach the spot immediately. Hospitals in the neighboring areas have been instructed to be prepared.

The magnitude of the disaster is not yet clear although it has been confirmed that a landslide has occurred in the area. Neither the police nor revenue department officers were able to reach the spot as Periyavaram bridge was destroyed during the floods. The new bridge has not been completed. The area became completely isolated when the temporary bridge was destroyed in the heavy rains the previous night.

This area where the landslide occurred is 30 kms away from Munnar. Road facilities to this reserve area are limited. Development activities cannot go beyond a certain point as the area is part of Eravikulam National Park. Labourers were allowed to reside here only because of the presence of plantations.

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