Landslip wipes out six, leaves Chettiyanmala in distress

Landslip wipes out six, leaves Chettiyanmala in distress
Rescue personnels transferring the bodies (R). The deceased: Midhun, 17, Navaneeth, 6, Nived, 14, Geetha, 24, and Kunji Amma, 55 (L). | Photo: Manoramna

Erumamunda, Malappuram: A sense of agony prevailed among the residents of Chettiyanmala, a hilly area near here, after six members of a family in the neighbourhood were wiped out in a landslide. The victims included a 17-year-old boy, a close relative of the ill-fated family.

The deceased have been identified as Midhun, 17, Navaneeth, 6, Nived, 14, Geetha, 24, Kunji Amma, 55 and Subrahmanian.

The house was buried under the debris caused by the massive landslide, while many others were partially destroyed. Tonnes of mud, boulders and slush came down on the half-a-kilometre long stretch leading to the area nestled beneath towering cliffs. The remaining families, who had been living in the government surplus land, now stare at an uncertain future.

Chettiyanmala is located about one-and-a-half kilometres away from Erumamunda town. There are about thirty families belonging to different tribal communities living in the area.

Local residents alleged that there had been a minor landslide in the region after a portion of the hillock caved in a month ago, but the authorities concerned did not bother to initiate any precautionary measures.

Despite extremely challenging weather conditions and ankle-deep slush, local people spared no effort in their search for those missing. They began to clear the debris and rescue persons trapped underneath on Wednesday night and continued their efforts till Thursday evening when poor light hampered the search operations. As all the major roads were inundated, fire and safety department personnel were not in a position to reach the area immediately or take the injured to hospital.

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