Kavalappara, Malappuram: This picture says it all – story of luck and hope from Kavalappara in Kerala's Malappuram district, where a landslide left a trail of death and destruction on August 8 night.
The photograph shows Muthappankunnu after the tragedy and it is clear that the landslide started at the top of the hill and it hurled down mud water and boulders, forming a rivulet. The green patch in the middle turned out to be the island of luck and hope for eight families. All the families in that area escaped the landslide without any injuries. The reason being that half way down, the landslide split into two and joined again downstream, leaving this small patch of land intact.
The families, who had a providential escape, narrated their horrible experience that night. Nediyakalayil Pushpa, who was at home with husband Sunil and 10-year-old son Dhanush, told Manorama that the landslide would have taken them too had they run out of their house.
“We were home when we heard a loud noise. Water, mud and boulders flowed down. People ran screaming. We also ran out but could not run far. The stream next to our house was in spate. Mud rushed down from all sides. We could not see much since it was dark. We also saw muck and boulders hurtling towards us. Our house was still standing. So we ran back and stayed there whole night.”
Eight houses, including that of Pushpa's, in that small island withstood the landslide just because the flow was split into two just above their homes. All of them are now in a relief camp set up by the government near Kavalappara. They said it was sheer luck that their houses were spared by the nature's fury. However, the people at the camp are in mourning as 20 bodies of their neighbours were recovered from the landslide spot and 39 are still missing.
Four missing found safe
Four people thought to have been missing in the landslide were traced at their relative's house. Cheeroly Prakashan and his family are safe, said Pothukallu panchayat representatives. Prakashan, wife and 2 kids had sought refuge in a relative’s house in Edakkara.
They had run to safety on Thursday night after hearing loud rumble from atop the hill. Their house was soon covered in mud. The family left for the relative’s place the next morning after spending a night at the relief camp.
Stunned by the devastation, they could not call anyone for three days. Prakashan then contacted a panchayat member on Sunday.