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Family was advised to shift to church before landslide struck

Landslide and gushing water washed away 48-year-old Martin's house to the Kavali stream, along with all six members of his family.

Published: 18th October 2021 01:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th October 2021 01:57 AM   |  A+A-

A scene from landslide-struck Kavali in Koottikkal, where a  six-member family was washed away. Their house was situated in the middle of the landslide path

A scene from landslide-struck Kavali in Koottikkal, where a six-member family was washed away. Their house was situated in the middle of the landslide path. (Photo | EPS, Vishnu Prathap)

Express News Service

KOOTTIKKAL(KOTTAYAM): Soon after the rain subsided on Saturday afternoon, people rushed to Kavali where a massive landslide had occurred. However, they couldn’t find anything in the place where the Ottalangal House, where 48-year-old Martin and his family were living. The landslide and gushing water washed away the house to the Kavali stream, along with all six members of the family. 

Martin, his mother Claramma Joseph, 75, wife Sini Martin, 45, their three daughters Sandra, 14, Sneha, 12, and Sona, 10, were trapped under the soil leaving no marks of their existence in the place. While the bodies of Claramma, Sini and Sona were recovered by local residents on Saturday, the remaining three persons’ bodies were dug out with the help of  NDRF and fire force personnel on Sunday.

“When the rain intensified, I called Roy (Martin) several times and told him to shift to St Mary’s Church, Kavali, as per the advice of the parish vicar. However, Roy said there was nothing to fear as it was not a landslide-prone area. When I was about to call him to pass a final warning, I heard a thunderous sound from the area of his house. I rushed to the area, but I could find nothing in the place where the house was situated,” said Alphonsa, Martin’s neighbour, her voice quivering.

Alphonsa’s house is just a few metres away from that of Martin. “Following heavy rain since morning, the area started witnessing mild landslides by 11 am. Following this, I told Roy that let’s move to the Anganwadi in Kavali. However, the road was blocked by that time and we were planning to shift to Kavali church if the rain continued. Roy’s children spoke to me over the phone till 1.15 pm. However, everything happened in a few seconds and the entire house was washed away,” said Alphonsa, who works as a helper at the Anganwadi. 

Martin was working as a store manager at a hardware shop in Mundakkayam. “Having some health issues, Martin took leave for a few days. He was supposed to go to Regional Cancer Centre in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday for medical-related needs,” said Prasoon, Martin’s neighbour.



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