At least 43 bodies have been recovered after a massive landslide triggered by monsoon rains swept away dozens of tea estate workers in southwestern India, police said yesterday.
The landslide in Idukki district, around 250 kilometres (155 miles) from Kerala state's capital Thiruvananthapuram, occurred Friday but the ongoing search and rescue efforts have been hampered by torrential downpours.
The toll rose to 43 yesterday afternoon, Idukki district's police chief, R Karuppasamy, told AFP.
Twenty-six of the bodies were recovered on Friday night, a police official said earlier yesterday.
About 30 km from the popular tourist destination of Munnar, the tragedy took place when big boulders came down on four lines of estate houses.
The massive search exercise is being carried out by a huge number of rescue personnel drawn from the NDRF, Kerala Police, Fire Force, locals and volunteers.
They faced extreme difficulty getting there as the roads and bridges in the area have been washed away in the heavy rains and resultant floods. A 21-member family is feared buried under the debris. Many houses of plantation workers and the estate canteen were swept away in the landslide.
Local media reported that some 78 people were believed to live in the area, with many still missing.
Kerala has been hit by deadly floods during the annual monsoon.The monsoon across South Asia is critical to replenishing rivers and groundwater, but also causes widespread death and destruction.
More than 300 people have died in floods and landslides in eastern and northeastern India, Bangladesh and Nepal in recent weeks.