16 killed as cave hideout crumbles in rockslide triggered by Cyclone Titli
The death toll in the rockslide in Odisha’s Gajapati district rose to 16, with the recovery of four more bodies from the spot.
The deceased have been identified as Kati Bhuyan, Basanti Bhuyan, Basumati Bhuyan and Biswambara Sabar.
At least 12 tribals, including three children who had taken shelter in a cave near a hillock to escape the wrath of Cyclone Titli, were earlier reported killed after being swept away by a rockslide on Thursday.
However, the family members of the deceased alleged that the district administration was not helping them in performing the last rites and the bodies had started decomposing.
Gajapati collector Anupam Saha said his officials were trying to reach the affected village, but the inhospitable terrain has so far proved to be a hurdle.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik expressed his condolences to the families of those killed.
Local officials said 22 tribals of Baraghara village of Gajapati’s Rayagada block had taken shelter in a cave near their village on the morning after gale force wind blew away the roofs of their huts.
But the hillock caved in due to incessant rain and the resultant rockslide swept away 16 of the villagers. Rayagada block chairman Dhaleswar Bhuyan said 12 bodies were recovered late Friday night while four are still missing. He said news of the tragedy came late because of the remoteness of the place.
Bhuyan said the other six villagers who survived had come back to inform the district administration about the tragedy.
Although no deaths were immediately reported in Odisha due to Cyclone Titli, the resultant floods following incessant rainfall have so far claimed 21 lives in the state.