Clockwise from left: Abhilash N.K’s aunt Vishweshwari, her husband Vijayan and their children Vishnu and Jishna. Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: An Indian expat in Sharjah is struggling to come to terms with the loss of seven relatives who died in a landslide during the recent Kerala floods.

Abhilash N.K, who is a teacher in a Dubai school, lost his aunt Vishweshwari, 47, her husband Vijayan, 58, their two children – Vishnu, 26 and Jishna, 20,

Vijayan’s brother Narayanan, 62, his wife Kamala, 55, their daughter Bhavya, 20, and Vishnu’s friend Aneesh, who was also present in Vishweshwari’s house at the time of the landslide.

All of them perished in Kavalappara on August 8, during the Kerala floods that left more than 120 dead in total.

Fifty nine of those who died in the Kerala floods were killed in the landslide in Kavalappara.

The eight who died in the house of Abilash’s aunt, were buried alive in the debris when their house, which was located at the top of a hill, caved in.

Vishweshwari’s second son Jishnu, 23, escaped death when he went out to buy candles just before the tragedy after the power went off due to the rain. Though they were extended family members, the incident has left Abhilesh and his family, who are now back from vacation, in shock.

The agony has been compounded by the news that Abhilash’s cousin Jishna is among 11 people, whose bodies haven’t been retrieved, after the search was called off on Tuesday.

Forty eight bodies were retrieved in the 19-day joint search by three agencies, which has been described as the biggest search operation in Kerala’s history.

Abhilash said the tragedy struck soon after the family celebrated Jishna’s engagement.

“She was supposed to get married in December,” said Abhilash. “Vishnu, who was with the Indian Army, had come home on leave for her wedding preparations,” he added.

“What they have left behind are only the memories of the good times we spent together,” he said.

Abhilash said he appreciates the support he’s received from the community and government agencies who led search operations and helped in funeral arrangements. “People forgot all their differences and worked together as human beings,” he said. “It was big news in Kerala when a local mosque made arrangements to clean and prepare bodies of all religions ahead of funerals.”