It was a gut-wrenching sight when Malayalam Television stations flashed poignant scenes of the landslide at Kottakkunnu in northern Malappuram district, where the body of a two-year-old boy was recovered clinging to his dead mother. When the landslide struck and mud and debris entombed their home last Friday, 22-year-old Geethu had tried to shield her toddler by tightly embracing him. Rescue workers struggled to separate the entwined bodies.
The accident occurred while Geethu’s husband Sharad was diverting the small stream that was gushing into his backyard. Sharad had a providential escape but his wife and child were not so lucky and his mother Sarojini is still missing.
The rescue operations face severe hurdles in Wayanad and Malappuram as rain continues to bombard areas susceptible to landslides. Central forces and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on rescue operations in landslide-hit areas are finding it challenging to unearth people buried under the debris and tons of mud. While landslides, mud slips and flash floods continue to cause enormous amount of misery in the hill areas, reports from coastal regions give the picture of a turbulent sea gnawing away at the human settlements. The general impression of Kerala as a totally safe zone is turning into a fable now.