11 August 2019
Malappuram (Kerala): Until Thursday night, Kavalapara was best described as a nondescript village located about 50 km from here. However, three days after the area was washed away by heavy rain, its 45 houses are buried under 50 feet of mud and 65 people missing.
The 75-acre area has been cut off from nearby areas since the past three days after its two bridges and connecting road gave under, leaving rescue operations severely affected.
Though the authorities had been asking the residents to leave the area since the rains started, most preferred to stay back.
"According to rough estimates, 63 villagers and two people who had arrived from outside are missing. We do not want to make any more guesses," said a grieving resident, who managed to get out just before the massive landslide.
On Sunday, hundreds of volunteers joined a team each of the Army and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as they started the rescue work.
"We arrived in the area yesterday, but could start work only this morning as heavy rains prevented us from reaching the spot of the tragedy. To search for survivors, we are first concentrating on places, where once stood houses," said an NDRF official.
Sunil, who lost eight members of his family, said: "My brother, my daughter and I are the only ones who are alive. It all ended in a flash with a loud noise."