Thiruvananthapuram, A massive search operation using man and machine, is underway on Saturday to find 50 odd people reported missing after a landslide in Kerala's Idukki district.
Since the Thursday midnight tragedy struck Rajamalai, 18 people have lost their lives while more than a dozen have been rescued and are under treatment in various hospitals in Idukki, Kottayam and Ernakulam districts.
The tragedy took place about 30km from the popular tourist destination of Munnar when big boulders came down on four lines of estate houses.
State Minister for Electricity, M.M.Mani, who hails from the district said the state government will do everything possible to help the victims, so would the Tea company, that owns the estate.
"The exact number of missing will have to be ascertained by the tea company, as it's their residential lines and the local village council will also have to work with them. The chances of getting a survivor from the debris is slim now," said Mani.
A huge number of rescue personnel drawn from the NDRF, Kerala Police, Fire Force, locals and volunteers are carrying out the massive search exercise.
While the Kerala government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to each of the deceased's families, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced Rs 2 lakh each.