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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Siddhartha Kumar, dpa

NEW DELHI — At least 10 people were killed and more than 150 trapped when a landslide hit a remote village in western India on Wednesday amid heavy monsoon rains, officials said.

Five-meter high piles of mud had buried parts of Malin village in Maharashtra state’s Pune district.

“Rescue teams have extricated 10 bodies from the debris and two injured have been taken to hospital,” Pune’s local commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh said by phone.

A total of 167 people were trapped after a section of a hill crashed down on 44 houses in the village early Wednesday.

Local authorities had begun rescue work but poor roads and incessant rains had delayed teams from the National Disaster Response Force from reaching the site in time.

“Rescue work is now in full swing. But it’s a formidable challenge since there is a whole lot of mud and debris to clear. The death toll is expected to go up markedly higher,” Deshmukh said.

Villagers sleeping in their homes were caught unaware and many were feared trapped under the mud, boulders and debris, local legislator Dilip Walse-Patil told the IANS news agency.

Police officials said the landslide was caused by the heavy downpours loosening earth and dislodging rocks and boulders.

At least 50 ambulances had been rushed from nearby towns and a ward had been kept ready to receive victims at a nearby hospitals.

People in half a dozen villages in the hilly neighborhood were also evacuated as a precautionary measure, the report said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences for the loss of lives in the landslide and said the federal home minister Rajnath Singh would be visiting Pune to take stock of the rescue work.

India’s monsoon usually lasts from June to September and torrential rains routinely exact a heavy toll, causing floods, landslides, house collapses, and crop destruction.

The northern states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have seen large monsoon-triggered landslides that have blocked national highways. Last year, more than 5,700 people were buried after floods in Uttarakhand.

AFP Photo

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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