Death toll in Indian landslide hits 22 as rescuers find more bodies - GulfToday

Death toll in Indian landslide hits 22 as rescuers find more bodies


Rescuers search for victims at the site of a landslide at Irshalwadi village in Maharashtra state on Saturday. AFP

The death toll from a landslide in India's western state of Maharashtra rose to 22 on Friday, with six more bodies being pulled out from underneath layers of mud before rescue operations were suspended, disaster relief officials said.

The landslide occurred on Thursday night in the remote mountain hamlet of Irshalwadi, about 60 km (37 miles) from Mumbai, flattening several houses.

The hamlet is estimated to have been home to at least 225 people, more than 80 of whom managed to escape. More than 100 people are suspected to still be trapped underneath the rubble.

Atul Karwal, Director General of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), told Reuters the rescue operations will continue on Saturday.

News channels on Friday showed rescue teams, wearing bright orange raincoats and carrying digging tools, trekking up the mountain to the site of the landslide.

Rescue operations are, however, being hindered by incessant rainfall, poor visibility, and the hilly terrain, all of which make movement of machinery to the site impossible and slow down the work, which is being done manually, officials said.

Another concern is a fort located at a higher altitude that has triggered fears of more landslides.

"The foundations of the fort have been weakened by the rain and the landslide, so we are also keeping a watch on that while we work to ensure more lives are not lost in case of another incident," Karwal said.


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