Kerala Police confirmed today that 46 people have been buried alive in 19 houses on the side of a hill in Kavalappara in Malappuram district in Kerala.
Only 1 body has been recovered today as locals struggle to remove heavy rocks and mud from on top of the houses. Three bodies were recovered yesterday.
The army is yet to reach the spot, which witnessed the worst landslide in Kerala’s history since independence.
Locals say that the mud that slid on to the houses and buried them is 3 to 4 meters thick in some places.
With 40 hours having been passed, chances of finding survivors is slim to zero.
Relief activities have been slow due to the inability of earth-moving equipment to reach the place due to inclement weather and the risk of further landslides along the way.
Power too has been unavailable in the area for the past four days.
The area had seen heavy landslides 15 years ago, when it was still under thick forests.
Many of the homes in Kerala’s hilly areas are constructed along dangerous slopes without much scientific consultation about the risk of landslides.
The state has been receiving heavy downpours for the last three to four days. It is estimated that the state has received more rain in the last three days than Delhi receives in a year.
The downpours have been caused by a cyclonic depression in Bay of Bengal that traveled to Rajasthan.
Besides Kerala, most of the states south of Vindhyas have been affected by heavy downpours and floods, including Western Maharashtra, Karanataka and Goa.
Kerala continues to receive heavy rains today (Saturday). However, today’s rains are not directly linked to the cyclone. They are likely to subside tomorrow (Sunday).
The state has managed to avoid a tragedy of proportions seen last year as the dams and reservoirs were practically empty when the downpours started three days ago.
Even now, they are only half filled, according to reports.