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Pune landslide toll rises to 41, hopes of finding survivors fade

Last updated on: July 31, 2014 22:37 IST

Pune landslide toll rises to 41, hopes of finding survivors fade

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Rescue workers waged a grim battle with a hostile weather and difficult terrain, looking for signs of life under the monstrous heap of mud and stones on Thursday at the landslide-hit Malin village, where 41 bodies have been pulled out till now amid fading hopes of more survivors.

Personnel of National Disaster Response Force, which is leading the rescue efforts, have pulled out nine survivors from the rubble.

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Image: Rescue workers and volunteers clear the debris from the site of a landslide at Malin village.
Photographs: Reuters

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Pune landslide toll rises to 41, hopes of finding survivors fade

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Intermittent rain continued to hamper the rescue operation being carried out since Wednesday morning when a massive landslide buried under its debris 44 houses with an estimated 160 people trapped inside.

The 41 dead included 16 women and six children, District Collector Control Room said.

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Image: A rescue worker at site of the landslide near Pune on Wednesday
Photographs: Nitin Lawate

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Pune landslide toll rises to 41, hopes of finding survivors fade

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A mass cremation of several victims was performed on Thursday at the village by their grieving relatives.

The hilly terrain that nestled the village, which sustained itself on a modest paddy crop grown on the sloppy land, was making the movement of JCBs and dumpers difficult with rescuers carrying an added burden of ensuring the safety of the prospective survivors as they operated the machinery to clear the huge mound with abundant caution.

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Image: A woman, whose house was destroyed in the landslide, picks up her belongings
Photographs: Nitin Lawate
Tags: 1

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Pune landslide toll rises to 41, hopes of finding survivors fade

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited Malin village, the scene of the tragedy over 100 km from Pune in Ambegaon taluka, and announced an assistance of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of each of the deceased from PM Relief Fund.

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Image: Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan makes his way through the slush at the site of a landlside near Pune on Wednesday
Photographs: Nitin Lawate

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Pune landslide toll rises to 41, hopes of finding survivors fade

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"It will be premature to comment on the reasons behind the incident before any inquiry is conducted by Geological Survey personnel," he said when asked if deforestation and subsequent soil erosion had led to the disaster.

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Image: A school building affected by the landslide
Photographs: Nitin Lawate

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Pune landslide toll rises to 41, hopes of finding survivors fade

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Forty-four houses and a temple were flattened early Wednesday morning when loosened earth from a hillside hurtled down the slopes taking large parts of the tribal village in its sweep. Slippers, cooking gas cylinders, cycle parts, wheels jutted out of the rubble.

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Image: A woman seen near her house which was destroyed by the landslide
Photographs: Nitin Lawate

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Pune landslide toll rises to 41, hopes of finding survivors fade

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Also to visit the village was Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar, who too, promised all help from the state government and measures to avoid recurrence of such disasters.

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Image: JCB machines engaged in rescue and relief work at the site of the landslide near Pune
Photographs: Nitin Lawate
Tags: NDRF

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Pune landslide toll rises to 41, hopes of finding survivors fade

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Meanwhile, in Mumbai Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan briefed his Cabinet about the tragedy. According to official sources, he told the Cabinet that people living in dangerous locations, which are prone to landslides, would have to be shifted elsewhere to prevent such incidents.

Chavan said about 300 NDRF personnel are engaged in rescue operations.


Image: Maharashtra deputy CM Ajit Pawar at the site of the landslide
Photographs: Nitin Lawate
Tags: JCB , Rao

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