18 October 2021
Multiple fatal landslides in Kerala, India
Heavy rainfall in Kerala, SW India, since Friday has triggered landslides and floods that have killed at least 26 people. It appears that most of the deaths have occurred in landslides and debris flows.
A large failure occurred at Poovanchi, destroying five houses and killing at least seven people. The Indian Express has a good image of the landslide:
The landslide is apparently about 500 m long. The Indian Express article links the failure to unregulated local quarrying:
But was that purely an instance of natural calamity? Not necessarily. Local people suspect the landslide in Poovanchi has more to do with man’s greed than nature’s fury. Poovanchi is located in an area made fragile by unregulated quarrying. A hill in the remote village has more than two quarries. The granite quarry on the opposite side of the hill, where the landslide happened, has scooped out a portion equal to what was lost to the landslide.
Unfortunately I am unable to find an image of the source area to verify whether quarrying might have played a role.
A further significant landslide occurred at Kavali in Koottikkal in Kerala, in which six people were killed:-
Three of the people killed were children, aged 14, 12 and 10.
Kerala, located on the west side of India, frequently suffers from landslides during the monsoon. However, this event is comparatively late in the annual cycle. It appears that the heavy rainfall is now subsiding, which should allow the recovery operations to be completed. Heavy rainfall has affected other areas of South Asia in recent years. The Melamchi area of Nepal has once again suffered from serious damage, and there are warnings of rainfall across other areas of Nepal.