National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel during the rescue operations at the landslide site, at Rajamala in Idukki on Sunday
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel during the rescue operations at the landslide site, at Rajamala in Idukki on Sunday

Heavy rains have led to a escalating tragedy in Kerala's Idukki region. The number of casualties from Friday's landslide continues to rise as rescue workers toil to help those who remain trapped. The massive landslide had destroyed a row of 20 houses of tea estate workers in the high range Idukki district of Kerala.

Here's all you need to know:

1. The death toll has risen to 43 now, with 17 bodies being recovered on Sunday.

2. The incident is said to have occurred in the wee hours of Friday when a huge mound of earth fell on the "row houses". Many of the affected were plantation workers from neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

3. Rescue workers of NDRF, police and fire force personnel are still trying to dig out bodies and find those who remain trapped. Sniffer dogs have been pressed into service to enable the retrieval of bodies. NDRF chief in charge of south Indian state, Rekha Nambiar is leading the 55-member team which is entrusted with the search and rescue mission.

4. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has announced ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakhs to kin of the deceased, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed his condolences over deaths due to landslide in Idukki and announced ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakhs each from Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF) to the kin of deceased.

5. Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan visited Rajamala in Idukki district on Sunday. "Very tragic incident. I convey my condolences to loved ones of those who lost their lives," he was quoted as saying by ANI.

6. Muraleedharan also leveled criticism at the state government for the "pathetic condition in which plantation workers live".

"The incident should be an eye-opener for those in power in the state. Unfortunately, the poor workers who had to live in proximity to workplaces, especially in hilly areas such as Rajamala do not have a safe roof over their head," he tweeted.

7. The heavy rains in the area continue. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a red alert for Idukki, Malappuram and Wayanad districts on Sunday. Incessant rains, landslides and opening of shutters of dams across rivers have caused rise in water level in rivers and streams in central Kerala.

(With inputs from agencies)

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