Pune: Toll rises to 28, rescue efforts on

SansadTV Bureau

pune_landslideWith five more bodies being extricated on Thursday  from the debris of the landslide that devastated Malin village, the death toll has gone up to 28 even as 150 people were still feared to be trapped under the huge mound of mud-and-rock debris.

As many as 44 houses were crushed in Malin village, situated in Ambegaon taluka, some 120 kms from the district headquarters in Western Maharashtra, by the massive landslide that occurred on Wednesday  morning trapping about 160 people under the debris after large parts of a hillside collapsed on them.

Rescue work, though affected by rain and muddy terrain, was continuing without a break in the village, he said, adding that the pace was slow because utmost caution was being exercised to ensure safety of those still alive under the debris.

Intermittent rains and slushy terrain were affecting the rescue work, district officials said.

Earth-moving machinery has been pressed into service but the rescuers are moving slowly to avoid causing harm to the possible survivors, Pune Collector Saurav Rao had earlier said, adding the operation to clear the rubble was on.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is at the mishap site to inspect the relief and rescue operation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had condoled the loss of lives in the tragedy on Wednesday and asked Singh to rush to Pune to take stock of the situation.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan visited the mishap site last night and reviewed rescue operations, appealing to people not to crowd the village as it could affect the ongoing work.

Around 300 NDRF personnel are assisting the local administration in the rescue operations.

About 30 ambulances and fire brigade teams from adjoining areas are giving their service to save the victims of the tragedy.

Scores of earth-moving machines, dumpers and ambulances have been pressed into service to clear the rubble and shift the dead and survivors to hospitals.