Maharashtra landslide toll climbs to 103, 130 still missing
The death toll in Maharashtra's worst-ever landslide in Pune district's Malin village climbed to 103 Sunday with another 21 bodies recovered from the debris in the past 24 hours, while another 130 villagers were still trapped or missing, an official said Sunday.
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and other agencies have rescued 23 people till now, including the youngest - a three-month old boy Rudra - from under the muck and debris, said NDRF chief commandant Alok Avasthy.
The village with around 200 people was almost entirely buried under a landslide early Wednesday following torrential rain - the probability of which was forecast by the US' NASA a day before the tragedy.
Inclement weather conditions, wet, sticky soil and the stench from the decaying bodies of humans and animal carcasses continue to hamper rescue operations.
NDRF officials have ruled out the chances of finding any more survivors as their gadgets did not indicate otherwise.
The rescuers are making arrangements to cremate the bodies as soon as possible after completing the relevant formalities in view of the stench.
They are also spraying chemicals in the area to prevent the outbreak of any disease.
The rescue operations, including efforts to trace more than two dozen students who took shelter in the village temple and were reportedly washed away in the adjacent flooded river, have not yielded results so far, officials said.
Prior to Malin, the worst landslide was in Mumbai's Sakinaka area, which killed over 75 slum dwellers July 13, 2000.
The state government announced aid of Rs.5 lakh besides Rs.2 lakh from the the Prime Minister Relief Fund to the kin of each of the dead in the Malin natural calamity.
The state government is also providing free medical treatment to all the injured and announced a complete rehabilitation package for the survivors.
The package will include repairing their damaged homes or rebuilding them afresh, providing all official documents, furnishing all household articles and farming requirements to enable them to restart their lives.
(Posted on 03-08-2014)