Rain-triggered landslide kills 13 in India’s Kerala state

New Delhi, Aug. 7, (dpa/GNA) – At least 13 people have been killed after heavy monsoon rains triggered a landslide in India’s southern state of Kerala on Friday, officials said.

Twelve more were rescued from the site in the Idukki district and taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, senior administrative official Antony Scaria said by phone.

The landslide occurred in the Rajamalai area of the district that was home to about 78 people, he said.

“We have recovered 13 bodies from the scene. Rescue operations are under way as many of the inhabitants are reported to be missing and could be trapped under the mud,” Scaria said.

Heavy rains on Thursday caused a bridge linking the region to collapse making access to the area difficult, media reports said. Rescue teams were also slowed by the tough, hilly terrain.

A 50-member team from the fire services equipped for night-time rescues had been dispatched to the region for operations, state chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

The state has also sought help from the Indian Air Force helicopters to help in rescue and relief efforts.

Incessant rains have also damaged infrastructure and roads and triggered floods in the region. The regional weather bureau has forecast extremely heavy rains in the region till Saturday.

India’s monsoon season between June and September often sees heavy rains that are vital for agriculture but can cause immense destruction.