Landslide Near Pune: Hopes of Finding Survivors Fade as Toll Rises to 77

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Landslide Near Pune: Hopes of Finding Survivors Fade as Toll Rises to 77

Chandrakant Zanjare, who said he lost 13 family members to a landslide, wails near the site where his house stood in Malin village in Maharashtra on August 1, 2014 (AP photo)

Malin, Maharashtra:  Rescuers have dug out 29 more bodies since last night from the mud and debris following a massive landslide at a village near Pune in Maharashtra that has claimed 77 lives so far.
Here are the latest developments:
  1. Only eight people have been pulled out alive since the landslide struck early on Wednesday, flattening over 40 houses in the Malin village, located on a hilly terrain, nearly 120 kilometres from Pune.
  2. Hundreds of rescuers toiling to sift through the debris said that sniffer dogs and machines to detect signs of life were all but useless in 15 feet of heavy mud and debris.
  3. "The houses have been buried under layers of wet mud, which makes chances of survival bleak, since no oxygen can go in," said Gautam Sarkar, a senior official involved in the rescue operations.
  4. Nevertheless, additional earth-moving machinery was being brought in, said Alok Avasthy, operations head of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team, who estimated the search effort would run for another two days.
  5. Among the handful rescued were Pramila Lembe, 25, and her three-month-old baby Rudra, who were recovering with no major injuries in hospital having been shielded by their home's tin wall. She and the baby had cowered in an area with breathing space until the baby's cries caught the attention of rescue workers. (How a Crying Baby Saved a Family Trapped in Pune Landslide)
  6. As focus remains on recovering the bodies of the missing, doctors said post-mortem examinations revealed the victims had suffered heavy battering and severe fractures. 
  7. NDRF personnel wore masks to keep out stench from the decomposed bodies. (Village was Building a Crematorium. Too Soon, It Will be Put to Use)
  8. Volunteers were seen preparing pyres for mass cremations on Friday, with wood and kerosene arriving on trucks and tankers.
  9. The state government has announced an assistance of Rs five lakh each to the families of those killed.
  10. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had said late on Thursday that people living in landslide-prone areas would have to be shifted to prevent such disasters. He said the landslide occurred "due to cutting of trees as well as construction activities on the hills. Mountains have been flattened for agriculture," he told his cabinet, according to the Press Trust of India news agency, citing officials.




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