Sixteen dead, dozens trapped in deadly India landslide

Sixteen dead, dozens trapped in deadly India landslide
Sixteen dead, dozens trapped in deadly India landslide

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - MUMBAI — Sixteen people have died and more than a hundred are still trapped after a massive landslide hit a village in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.

The landslide occurred in Irshalwadi village in Raigad district on Wednesday night and flattened out several homes.

Rescue efforts have resumed after they were halted on Thursday night due to heavy rain.

Officials say the disaster spot is located on a hilltop and the tough terrain is hindering rescue operations.

Around 109 people are still trapped under the debris, the Maharashtra government has said.

Several states in India have been receiving heavy rainfall over the past two weeks, triggering floods and landslides. India's weather department has said that heavy rainfall will continue over the next few days in parts of Maharashtra state, including Raigad district.

Wednesday's landslide hit a remote village located on the slope of a hill. Around 17 houses out of 50 in the area have sustained damage.

Eyewitnesses told BBC Marathi that the landslide hit their village at around 22:30 local time (17:00 GMT).

"The ground shook suddenly and we ran out of our houses," said one survivor, who lost several members of his family.

"It [a landslide] has never happened before here. I never thought the mountain would collapse; that's why people lived there," said another. Many people are still searching for their family members.

The uphill terrain, which has become slippery due to the rains, is making it hard for heavy machines such as JCBs to reach the spot and officials say a large portion of the mud had to be cleared manually.

NDRF teams, the police and medical teams are currently involved in relief efforts. Locals and trekkers have also been included in the rescue operations.

Relief camps have been set up at the bottom of the hill and about 98 people have been rescued so far, officials said.

"Our priority is to evacuate people from the scene and treat the injured immediately," federal home minister Amit Shah tweeted.

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde has announced compensation of 500,000 rupees ($6,000; £4,700) each to the families of those who have died. — BBC

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