The death toll from a landslide triggered by torrential rains this week in India’s western Maharashtra state rose to 61 with 110 missing people feared dead, a government official said.
Among the dead were 10 children, Ganesh Patil, additional district collector of Pune, said in a phone interview today. The rescue operations in Malin village near the city of Pune continued for a third day with 360 soldiers from the National Disaster Relief Force working with state government and municipal workers searching for survivors, Patil said.
“We are hopeful but the chances of survival are low as 48 hours have now passed” since the landslide, Patil said. Mechanical diggers and rescue workers with shovels are helping to dig out the villagers, some of whom were in their beds when the landslide swept through the area on July 30. More than 40 homes were buried under the mud, according to Patil.
India’s monsoon, which accounts for more than 70 percent of the country’s rainfall, is vital for farmers even as it sometimes causes destruction. The government estimates more than 5,000 people were killed or missing in flooding last year in the north, the nation’s worst natural disaster since the Indian Ocean tsunami almost a decade ago.