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At Least 12 Dead in India Landslide

Vehicles move through a waterlogged street during heavy rainfall in Kochi, Kerala state, India, Aug. 7, 2020.

A mudslide in India Friday triggered by heavy monsoon rain and flooding killed at least 12 people and buried 20 homes of tea plantation workers, police and local media in southwestern Kerala state said.

Police say 12 people have been rescued, adding that about 70 people were reported missing in Idukki district's Rajamalai area.

Kerala state's top elected official, Pinarayi Vijayan, tweeted that teams from the National Disaster Response Force were on their way to the area to assist with rescue efforts, and police, fire, and forest officials have been instructed to join them.

The New Indian Express newspaper reports rescue workers have been hampered by ongoing monsoon rains. Communication links and electricity lines were snapped and a bridge in the area was washed away.

The meteorological office issued a red alert with more rain expected in the region.

The Muthirapuzha River also flooded low-lying areas of Munnar, also in Idduki district.

Annual monsoon rains hit South Asia from June to September. The rains are crucial for rain-fed crops but often cause extensive damage.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says more than 550 people have died in India, Bangladesh and Nepal and over 9.6 million people have been displaced across South Asia since the flooding began in June.