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Toll in Pune landslide disaster touches 82

Harsh weather conditions, wet soil and the stench of decaying bodies hamper rescue operations

Pune: The overnight toll in Maharashtra’s worst landslide disaster in Malin village of Pune district went upto 82 on Saturday, a top official said.

Also read: Pune landslide - Toll rises to 73

Chandrakant Zhanjare
Chandrakant Zhanjare, who lost 13 family members, sits on a tree near the spot which was once his home, at Malin Village. Pic/AFP

“We have recovered 82 bodies so far. Rescue work is still underway,” additional district collector Ganesh Patil said. Among the 82 dead are 42 women, 30 men and 10 children and an estimated 130 others are still trapped or missing in the natural calamity, he added. Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and other agencies have rescued 23 people, including the youngest, a three-month-old boy Rudra, from under the debris in the past three days.

The village, which has a population of around 200 people, was almost entirely buried under a landslide early Wednesday following torrential rain that had lashed the region. Inclement weather conditions, wet, sticky soil and the stench from the decaying bodies of humans and animal carcasses continue to hamper rescue operations. NDRF officials ruled out chances of finding any more survivors as their gadgets did not indicate otherwise.

However, 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. The Maharashtra government has announced aid of Rs 500,000 to the kin of each of the dead, free medical treatment to all the injured and   rehabilitation for the survivors.

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