KOCHI: With close to one lakh people still in relief camps, where most of them are not ready to return home due to fear of being hit by more landslides, the government on Saturday formed 50 two-member teams, comprising a geologist and a soil conservation expert, to inspect and submit a report on the safety of areas affected by landslides in recent days.
“The two-member team will travel to eight districts and submit a techno-legal report to State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) within two weeks. The report will help us provide an assurance to people whether it’s safe to return to their homes yet,” said Sekhar Lukose Kuriakose, member secretary, KSDMA, and Head Scientist, Kerala State Emergency Operations Centre. The state witnessed over 80 landslides in a span of seven to eight days from August 8, most of them in Wayanad and Malappuram districts, killing over 100 people.
There were many ‘aborted landslides’ too, where the land moved but lack of sufficient momentum prevented slips from occurring. It is being reckoned that land which moved in these areas will settle if the water is routed away from the crevices. Justin Mohan, director, Directorate of Soil Survey & Soil Conservation, said the teams will begin work from Wednesday in close coordination with District Soil Conservation Department.
“While topsoil inspection will be done by soil conservation officers, the rock beneath topsoil will be inspected by geologists,” he said.
Geologists in the state government work under two departments namely, Groundwater Department and Mining & Geology Department.
“We will take the assistance of 50 geologists from these two departments,” said Justin. Sekhar Lukose said after 2018 floods, the state had sought the help of Geological Survey of India (GSI) to find landslide-prone areas.
“This time, however, the need is urgent. Since we have the internal capacity, qualified soil engineers and geologists, we thought it would serve the purpose if we send our own team for survey. This is the lesson we learnt from last year’s flood,” Justin added.