- Homes of plantation workers in Wayanad swept away by landslide
- Over 22,000 people have been evacuated from flooded areas
- Thunderstorm with wind speed up to 50 kmph has been forecast
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An entire cluster of homes of plantation workers at a tea estate in Wayanad was swept away by a landslide on Thursday evening. Several are trapped under the debris and 200 are injured, officials said. A hundred people have been rescued, while two bodies have been found. Officials said the rescue operation may take 12 hours. Teams of the Army, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the fire department are at the site.
The rescuers are finding it difficult to navigate around the debris due to multiple low-intensity landslides in Wayanad, official said, adding this area has not seen a landslide in 20 years. Officials said there is a possibility those rescued could be airlifted.
Over 22,000 people - 9,000 in Wayanad alone - have been evacuated from flooded areas in several districts. Wayanad has the most number of relief camps at 105 out of a total 315 across the state, the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority said.
Schools and colleges are shut in all 14 districts of the southern state today. No university exam will be held today, officials said.
Officials said Nilambur village in Malappuram is one of the worst affected areas with multiple landslides and where water level has been rising fast. Teams of the Army and the NDRF are at the area, official said.
The Navy today tweeted it has opened its air station INS Garuda in Kochi for civilian flights. "The Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy is all geared up and ready to provide any assistance to the civil administration as and when required," a defence spokesman said, news agency PTI reported.
Thunderstorm with wind speed up to 50 kmph has been forecast to hit Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Idukki, Ernakulam and Thrissur.
Kerala has asked the centre to send 10 more teams of the NDRF to the state. Seven of these teams are expected to reach today. One NDRF team has been already positioned in Idukki.
"We strongly recommend that your communications plan include a backup means. Keep your phone charged. Follow instructions from local officials. Listen to instructions regarding evacuation or sheltering. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately," Mr Vijayan tweeted.
"Spoke to the Prime Minister seeking all possible assistance for the people severely affected by the floods and landslides in the state, especially in Wayanad. The PM has assured to provide any assistance required to mitigate the effects of the disaster," Rahul Gandhi tweeted today. Wayanad is his constituency.