Twenty-six die, tourists stranded in landslides in India

At least 26 died in landslides in India’s Kerala district caused by rainfall, and 69 tourists are stranded at a resort, officials said on Friday.

A man walks along a flooded street in India's Kerala state on Thursday. Heavy rain led to landslides in which at least 37 people were killed, and 69 tourists were stranded at a resort. Photo by Prakash Elamakka/EPA-EFE
A man walks along a flooded street in India’s Kerala state on Thursday. Heavy rain led to landslides in which at least 37 people were killed, and 69 tourists were stranded at a resort. Photo by Prakash Elamakka/EPA-EFE

Rains in the mountainous Indikki district, an area in southern India famous for growing tea, led to landslides that have buried villages and blocked roads. The tourists, including 20 foreigners, are marooned at the Hotel Plum Judy resort. The Indian military was called to aid the National Disaster Response Force in rescuing the tourists, NDTV reported on Friday.

The U.S. consulate in Chennai issued a travel alert and warned U.S. citizens to avoid visiting the area. It is unknown if any of those stranded at the resort at Americans.

North Kerala’s Wayand district is completely cut off by the landslides, and military personnel are working to restore its road network.

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Twenty-four dams across the area, connected to reservoirs holding excess rainwater, were opened. One, at the Indikki reservoir and itself a tourist attraction, had three of its five sluice gates opened after the water level within the reservoir rose to 2,401 feet, only two feet below its maximum capacity. The flow of water inundated downstream areas, although casualties were restricted because of proper planning, a government official told the Hindustan Times.

ByEd Adamczyk