MALIN/GHODEGAON: A day after a mudslide hit the Malin hamlet in Pune district, 42 people were found dead and over 120 were feared dead under the slush. The National Disaster Rescue Force (NDRF) team has managed to pull out eight survivors from under dense layers of mud and rubble. However, the chances of finding more survivors seem very low as the last survivor was pulled out night.
The eight injured persons rescued from the debris were being treated at nearby hospitals. About 45 houses, including a temple, were flattened under the impact of the mudslide.
Rescuers battled through heavy rains on Thursday in a desperate search for victims of a landslide. “Miracles do happen, we will keep looking, but under current conditions, the chances of finding more survivors look very, very bleak,” said Alok Avasthy, NDRF regional commandant.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh was also in Pune . He visited the site and consoled the families of the victims. He also assured villagers of all possible assistance by the state government in dealing with the natural calamity. “We have declared `2 lakh to all the deceased from the Prime Minister’s fund. The PM himself expressed concern about the situation. We are also committed to rehabilitate the people who were affected by the incident,” said Mr Singh, after visiting the hamlet.
Mr Singh confirmed a death toll of 30 till Thursday afternoon and said that rescue work would go on for at least two more days. “The NDRF, state officials and volunteers are doing their best to rescue the people. 30 bodies have been recovered so far,” he said.
When asked if the disaster was man-made and if the state government was responsible for it, Mr Singh said, “I will not blame the state government in the middle of this crisis situation. The truth behind the incident will come forth when a geological survey will be conducted. It is too early to talk about reasons behind the disaster,” Mr Singh said.
Replying to a query about haphazard development in ecologically sensitive areas, Mr Singh said he supports ecologically-friendly development. He was also asked if aerial assistance could have been given in such a case, where the hamlet was very remote. The Union Home Minister said he has conducted a meeting in this regard and pushing for the proposal.