Monsoon rain in India triggered a landslide in the southwestern Indian state of Kerala. The horrific incident left 43 people dead, including three children, with dozens of more people buried.
On August 6, the landslide swept into a settlement housing workers on a tea plantation in the Idukki district, and the incident happened when most residents were fast asleep. Dozens of houses were immediately destroyed, leaving 11 people injured and rushed to the hospital.
As search and rescue workers spend days digging through the debris and thick mud, the death toll rose. The efforts of search and rescue workers were hampered further by the constant heavy rain.
According to district lawmaker Dean Kuriakose, 25 people are still missing. More than 500 personnel from local forces and the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed to look for survivors and corpses.
Kerala's Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan stated on Twitter on August 9 that despite inclement weather and harsh conditions, the search for those who went missing is progressing.
On August 10, the Indian Meteorological Department issued a stern warning of "heavy to very heavy rainfall" in certain parts of the state for the next 24 hours. A red alert was in place for seven of the state's 14 districts. For weeks, Kerala has been battered by heavy rain and flooding.
On August 7, a tragedy happened again when an Air India Express plane skidded off the runway and broke into two while trying to land at Kozhikode Calicut International Airport amid the heavy rain.
The flight from Dubai had 190 people on board when it crashed, according to a statement by Air India Express. A total of 18 people died, including both pilots and four children.
For centuries, agriculture in South Asia has depended on the annual monsoon, which stretches from about June until September. However, intense rains and floods also cause massive devastation and billions of dollars in economic loss and damage across much of the region every year.
In 2018, Kerala was hit with flooding, which was the worst flooding in Kerala's history in almost a century as reported by CNN. Flash floods swept through the state, the sewage lines were blocked and the rivers overflowed. More than 300 people were killed and thousands were displaced.
In 2019, Kerala and the states surrounding it were inundated again and 150 people died, leaving hundreds of homes destroyed. Thousands of people were forced to spend time in relief camps.
Since May 2020, monsoon rains have triggered heavy flooding in the eastern Indian states of Bihar and Assam, and it affected more than 2.4 million people, swamping massive parts of the national park and killing more than 100 wild animals.
Nepal has also endured massive landslides and severe flooding, while almost one-third of Bangladesh has been affected by floods.
Floods have also engulfed massive swaths of southern China in 2020, with the Yangtze basin having its heaviest average rainfall in almost 60 years.
The direct economic cost of the tragedy is at $21 billion in destroyed farmland, roads, and other property. More than 55 million people have been affected.
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