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India Landslide Death Toll Climbs to 30

  • VOA News

Rescue workers carry the body of a victim at the site of a landslide in Malin village, in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, July 30, 2014.

Rescue workers carry the body of a victim at the site of a landslide in Malin village, in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, July 30, 2014.

The death toll from a landslide in western India climbed to 30 on Thursday as rescue workers continued to search for about 100 people who remain missing.

Heavy rains flooded the town of Malin with mud and debris on Wednesday, submerging homes and burying residents.

Suresh Dhonde lost six family members when the landslide hit his home.

"In our house there were eight people, of which two survived, but the other six are buried under the mud," Dhonde said.

Hours after the landslide, a baby's cries at the scene alerted emergency personnel to Pramila Lende and her six-month old son, who survived the landslide.

"I was feeding my baby, at that time I heard the sound of stones falling so I started running with my child but the mud covered my body," she said. "I stayed with my baby then there was a safe place so kept baby there."

Rescuers have not ruled out finding more survivors. Alok Avasthy, who heads the National Disaster Rescue Force that is leading efforts at the disaster site, said time lowers the chances of survival, but there is still hope.

"My past experience says we got [people] alive after nine days also," said Avasthy. "So we cannot rule out, but chances are very, very, very less. Very less."

Heavy rains and poor communication in the remote region hindered rescue efforts by hundreds of emergency workers dispatched to Malin, a village of about 700 people 60 kilometers from the city of Pune in Maharashtra state.

Landslides are common in the area during the monsoon season, from June through September.

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