A mudslide triggered by heavy monsoon rain and flooding has killed at least 12 people and buried 20 homes of tea plantation workers in southern India.
Some 12 people have been rescued, police officer Eldhose Madhai said on Friday.
About 70 people have been reported missing in the region, he said.
A 50 member strong special task force team of the Fire Force has been dispatched to Rajamalai in Idukki for rescue efforts. They have been equipped for nighttime rescue activities. #KeralaRains pic.twitter.com/olo1eraMNV— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) August 7, 2020
Kerala state’s top elected official, Pinarayi Vijayan, tweeted that teams from the National Disaster Response Force were on their way to Idukki district’s Rajamalai area, where the mudslide occurred.
Police and fire service officers are also in the area.
Communication links and electricity lines were snapped and a bridge in the area was washed away.
The meteorological office issued a red alert with more rain expected in the region.
A Hindu temple in Ernakulam district on the bank of the Periyar River was almost submerged as water levels rose after sluice gates of a dam were opened.
The Muthirapuzha River also flooded low-lying areas of Munnar, also in Iddiki district.
Annual monsoon rains hit south Asia from June to September.
The rains are crucial for rain-fed crops planted during the season but often cause extensive damage.
More than 550 people have died in India, Bangladesh and Nepal and more than 9.6 million people have been displaced across south Asia since the flooding began in June, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.