Pune, Aug 2: Maharashtra‘s worst landslide disaster in Malin village of Pune district has claimed the lives of 82 people, half of them women, officials said here Saturday. Another estimated 130 villagers are still trapped or missing. ”We have recovered 82 bodies so far… Rescue work is still underway,” Additional District Collector Ganesh Patil told IANS. Among the dead are 42 women, 30 men and 10 children, he added. Since on Friday morning, no survivors have been dug out, dimming all hopes of any more victims being extricated alive from the debris.
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and other agencies have rescued 23 people till now, including the youngest – a three-month old male child Rudra – from under the debris in the past three days. The village with around 200 people was almost entirely buried under a landslide early on Wednesday following torrential rain. Inclement weather conditions, wet, sticky soil and the stench from the decaying bodies of humans and animal carcasses are hampering rescue operations.
NDRF officials Friday ruled out the chances of finding any more survivors as their gadgets did not indicate otherwise. The rescuers are making arrangements to cremate the bodies as soon as possible after completing the relevant formalities. They are also spraying chemicals in the area to prevent the outbreak of any disease.
The rescue operations, including efforts to trace more than two dozen students who took shelter in the village temple and were reportedly washed away in the adjacent flooded river, will continue till Sunday, officials said. This has made the Malin tragedy the worst landslide disaster in the state. Prior to Malin, the worst landslide was in Mumbai’s Sakinaka area, which killed over 75 slum dwellers July 13, 2000.
In Mumbai, the Maharashtra government announced aid of Rs.5 lakh to the kin of each of the dead, free medical treatment to all the injured and complete rehabilitation package for the survivors. The package will include repairing their damaged homes or rebuilding them afresh, providing all official documents, furnishing all household articles and farming requirements to enable them to restart their lives.
Rajya Sabha member and Republican Party of India (A) chief Ramdas Athawale, who visited the site Friday, on Saturday announced a donation of Rs.25 lakh from his MP fund which will be spent for rehabilitation of the survivors. Earlier, Mumbai’s Siddhivinayak Temple Trust committed Rs.50 lakh for rehabilitation of the survivors and rebuilding the devastated village.