The rescue and search operation at Irshalwadi hamlet in Maharashtra’s Raigad district, where a massive landslide buried several houses and claimed the lives of at least 16 people so far, resumed on Friday morning, an official said.
The landslide occurred around 11 pm on Wednesday at the tribal village, situated on a hill slope, under Khalapur tehsil of the coastal district, around 80 km from Mumbai. Of the total 228 residents of the village, the bodies of 16 have been recovered, while 93 residents have been traced, he said.
However, a total of 119 villagers are yet to be traced. They include those who had gone out of the village to attend a marriage or for rice plantation work, he said.
Of the nearly 50 houses in the village, 17 were flattened by the landslide, officials said.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) along with teams of Raigad police and local authorities began the operation for the second day at the remote village, the official said.
”At least four NDRF teams reached the landslide site this morning and started the operation. Teams of the Thane Disaster Response Force (TDRF), local disaster management authorities, Raigad police are also engaged in the operation,” he said.
The search operation began at 6.30 am, Raigad Superintendent of Police Somanth Gharge said. ”We have roped in a dog squad to assist the personnel in the search operation,” an NDRF official said. On Thursday, the rescue and search teams recovered 16 bodies from the landslide, while 21 people were rescued.
”The deceased included four children between the age group of one to four years and a 70-year-old person,” he said, adding seven persons are undergoing treatment at various hospitals.
The search and rescue personnel at the site were facing hurdles due to the difficult hill terrain of the area where heavy equipment cannot be easily moved.
”Incessant rain, fog and gusty winds at the hilltop, those involved in the search and rescue operation are facing difficulties,” the official said.
From the hill base, it takes around one-and-a-half hours to reach Irshalwadi, which does not have a pucca road.
As the village does not have a pucca road, earth movers and excavators could not be easily moved and hence the operation is being carried out manually, the official said.
The NDRF personnel had to stop their search and rescue operation at the landslide site on Thursday evening due to bad weather.