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Sunday, 3 August 2014

India landslide rescuers press on despite 'slim chances'

NEW DELHI: Rescuers continued digging despite “very slim chances” of finding any more people alive in the mud and debris from a major landslide in western India, where 73 have been killed.

Seventy-three bodies and eight survivors have now been pulled from the site where a village once stood in a remote part of western Maharashtra state, but incessant rains, marshy terrain and strong winds have hampered rescue efforts.

“Whole night the operation was on. We were able to recover 73 dead, eight alive,” Alok Awasthi, commandant of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), told NDTV news channel adding half the work had been completed.

“Around 80 people are still feared trapped ... chances of survival are very, very slim.”

The NDRF has said about 160 people were thought to have been living in the dozens of houses damaged when a hill gave way and cascaded onto their village of Malin.

The force, which mobilised 378 rescue workers, worked into the night and entered its fourth day in a desperate hunt for any more survivors after lights powered by portable generators were set up.

The operation could continue for another two days due to difficult conditions.

Grieving relatives have been rushing to identify bodies and attending mass cremations at their village after losing whole families as tonnes of earth and trees came crashing down onto the homes below on July 30. — AFP

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