This Malappuram man outran a landslide, but his mother, wife and son weren't lucky

Chathakkulam Sarath's wife Geethu was clasping the hand of her one-year-old son Druv tightly when their bodies were recovered. 

Published: 12th August 2019 04:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th August 2019 08:13 PM   |  A+A-

Kerala landslide, Malappuram landslide, Kerala floods

Sarath's wife Geethu and one-year-old son Druv.

Express News Service

MALAPPURAM: Kottakkunu was once known as the Marine Drive of Malappuram. Tourists flocked to its amusement centre, which boasted of an open-air theatre and a children's park. Laughter and joy pervaded the air.

But after the latest rains that ravaged the district, all that remains are the echoes of tragedy. 

On Monday, rescuers after a long battle finally pulled out the bodies of three members of a family who succumbed in the landslide that hit the area on the fatal Friday. A total of 15 families had been evacuated from the area. The Geology Department has issued a warning that landslides could recur at the spot. The amusement centre now stands closed.

The building from which the bodies were retrieved had collapsed on Friday afternoon. Immediately after the incident, the fire and rescue team were pressed into service. But they could not save the unlucky trio.

The bodies were identified to be those of Chathakkulam Sarath's mother Sarojini, 50, his wife Geethu, 22, and one-year-old son Druv. Geethu was clasping the hand of Druv tightly when their bodies were recovered. 

The disaster occurred when Sarath and his mother were trying to redirect the rainwater gushing from the top of the hill away from their house.

"At that time, a big portion of the hill fell on to the house. Sarath managed to run away to a safe area. But his mother fell down while attempting to escape and was trapped under the earth," said Sameer, a resident.

The fire and rescue team said they had given it their all.

"Our operations were disrupted several times due to heavy rains. As a portion of the hill had parted from the rest of it, we were very careful during the operations. We stopped operations whenever the rain turned heavy. At other times, we worked really hard. We also identified some spots where we could run away to if there was another landslide," said a fire and safety officer.

Anil VP, CPM district secretariat member, said unauthorised constructions in the area had played a role in aggravating the tragedy.

"Numerous buildings including tourist homes have recently been built up by levelling the hill. Authorities have given permits for these buildings illegally. The Geology Department should study the impact of such constructions in the area and create an action plan to avoid disasters like this in the future," he said.


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