Dozens are still missing since a landslide hit Maharashtra’s Irshalwadi village on Wednesday night in Raigadh district.
Hundreds of rescuers have recovered 27 bodies as they continue a fourth day of searching for scores of people still missing after heavy monsoon rains triggered a massive landslide in a village in western India, an official said.
Seventy-eight people have been unaccounted for since the landslide hit the village of Irshalwadi on Wednesday night in Raigadh district, about 80km (50 miles) from Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra state.
At least 17 of the village’s 48 houses were completely or partially buried under the debris, officials said.
“So far we have counted 27 bodies, and about 50 to 60 people are still missing, but there are many challenges for rescue work at the site,” Raigad official Yogesh Mhase told AFP news agency on Sunday.
The hilltop location and difficult terrain hampered efforts, officials said.
“We are facing the big challenge of not being able to carry heavy equipment, so everything is done manually,” Rescuers usually use sticks and shovels,” Pramod Kumar Singh of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) told local media outlet ANI.
From the foot of the hill, it takes 90 minutes to reach Irshalwadi by foot. Rain and a threat of further landslides caused the rescue operation to be suspended during the night, the rescue agency said.
The dead included four children, the Press Trust of India news agency said, adding that 75 people had been rescued. Four people were hospitalized.
India’s weather department has put Maharashtra on alert as the state has been lashed by incessant rains for the past week. Local train services were disrupted in several places, with water flowing inside stations and on the tracks, media reported.
Record rainfall has killed more than 100 people in northern India in the past three weeks, officials said, as torrential rains caused roads to collapse and houses to collapse.
India often experiences severe flooding during the monsoon season, which runs between June and September and brings most of South Asia’s annual rainfall. Rains are important for rainfed crops planted in the season but often cause significant damage.
Scientists say monsoons are becoming more erratic due to climate change, leading to frequent landslides and floods in India’s Himalayan north.