27 Dead: Monsoon-Triggered Landslide Devastates Village

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The search for missing villagers has concluded following a landslide that buried at least 17 houses and resulted in 27 fatalities.  

The disaster took place in Irshalwadi, a settlement in the Raigad district of western India, on Wednesday night, July 19.

Continuous heavy monsoon rains provoked the landslide, burying the houses under a massive wave of debris. The death toll is currently at 27, including four minors, while 78 people are yet to be accounted for.

Rescue workers labored tirelessly over four days, managing to save approximately 75 people and painstakingly combing through the perilous debris for survivors. Regrettably, these efforts had to be called off.

Deepak Avadh, a spokesperson for the National Disaster Response Force, disclosed the decision to discontinue the search operations, acknowledging the challenging conditions and the receding probability of finding more survivors.

The remote positioning of the village created substantial obstacles for the rescue operation. From the rescue base it was 90 minutes by foot to the village. Impassable roads and an huge area of sludge prevented heavy-duty equipment like earthmovers and excavators from reaching the disaster site. This compelled the rescue personnel to use manual tools such as rods and shovels to shift through the debris. Sniffer dogs were also brought in, hoping they might pick up signs of life.

This disaster coincides with unrelenting monsoon downpours that have impacted Maharashtra state, causing local train stations to flood and services in several areas to be disrupted.

The past three weeks have seen the region suffer over 100 fatalities due to record-breaking monsoon rains that have incited more landslides and home collapses.

The growing unpredictability of monsoons in India’s Himalayan north, causing frequent landslides and flash floods, has been linked to climate change by scientists. While the monsoon season is crucial for rain-dependent agriculture, it is increasingly being associated with widespread destruction and loss of lives in the region.

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