India – Floods and Landslides in Kerala Leave More Than 20 Dead

More than 20 people have died in landslides and flooding after days of heavy rain in the state of Kerala, southwestern India.

NDRF search through landslide debris in Kokkayar, Idukki District, Kerala, India, 16 October 2021. Photo: NDRF Arakkonam

According to India’s National Emergency Response Centre (NERC), all 14 districts in the state have been affected as of 17 October. A total of 5,223 people have been displaced and moved to 163 temporary relief camps. Emergency teams have rescued more than 800 people. As of 17 October, 23 fatalities were reported including 22 in landslides and 1 in flash floods.

Massive landslides struck in Kuttickal and Mundakkayam in Kottayam District and Kokkayar in Idukki District. Teams from India’s military and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in affected areas for rescue and relief operations.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences in a statement of 17 October. “It is saddening that some people have lost their lives due to heavy rains and landslides in Kerala. Condolences to the bereaved families,” the Prime Minister said.

Heavy rain began on 11 October 2021. In a 24 hour period to 12 October, Karipur recorded 255mm of rain, Kozhikode 216 mm and Kannur 166 mm. The rain continued across the state, worsening over the last 2 days with Kochi recording 129 mm of rain in 24 hours to 17 October.

As of 17 October, several rivers were flowing above the danger mark in the state, including the Manimala in Pathanamthitta district; the Kallada in Kollam; the Achankovil in Pathanamthitta; and the Karamana and Neyyar rivers in Thiruvananthapuram district. State Disaster Management Authority also reported dam levels were above the danger mark in at least 8 locations.

Hundreds of people died in the state after monsoon rainfall caused severe flooding and landslides in 2018. Media described the flooding as the worst in a century.