The number of deaths in the massive landslide that destroyed a row of houses of tea estate workers in the high range Idukki district of Kerala today climbed to 42 with 16 more bodies being recovered from the debris, as efforts were on amid continuing rains to locate those missing, officials said.
Rains continued to lash many parts of Kerala today amid predictions of extremely heavy rainfall in six districts. The meteorological department has issued a red alert of extremely heavy rainfall in Kasaragod, Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Alappuzha districts.
There is likely to be a reduction in rainfall from Tuesday, it said.
The landslide in Idukki district, around 250 kilometres from Kerala's capital Thiruvananthapuram, occurred Friday but the ongoing search and rescue efforts have been hampered by torrential downpours.
Despite adverse weather conditions in Pettimudi, rescue operations by NDRF, fire and police department personnel are continuing to recover bodies of more people feared trapped in the landslide, the officials said.
While 12 people were rescued, 42 bodies were found, they said.
Meanwhile, incessant rains, landslides and opening of shutters of dams across rivers have led to rise in water levels in rivers and streams in central Kerala, aggravating the flood situation.
Six shutters of Pamba dam in Pathanamthitta district were opened this afternoon after its water level rose to 983.45 meter mark, raising concerns about floods in Ranni, Chengannur and Kuttanad regions.
The shutters were opened to bring down the water level in the dam to 982 meters in nine hours, Pathanamthitta district officials said.
Low-lying areas in Kottayam and Alappuzha districts have been badly hit due to flooding.
Hundreds of families have been shifted to relief camps from-low lying areas, including Kumarakom and Kuttanad regions of Kottayam and Alappuzha districts, they said.
Considering the spread of COVID-19, the authorities have opened separate camps for different categories of the flood affected people.