Maha landslide: Survivors recount horror; say unable to fathom how to move on
At least 12 persons died in the landslide that took place late Wednesday night in remote Irshalwadi, reaching which takes more than an hour from the nearest motorable road
Eye witnesses and survivors in Irshaldwadi in Maharashtra's Raigad district on Thursday recounted the terror and shock of realising that a massive landslide had buried many of them amid heavy rains that was pounding the region for the past few days.
They managed to come out from the mound of mud and rubble of household items, but the thought of piecing together their lives from here on weighed heavily as they recounted their brush with fate.
At least 12 persons died in the landslide that took place late Wednesday night in remote Irshalwadi, reaching which takes more than an hour from the nearest motorable road.
There is nothing left except soil and debris, said a distraught man, who used to stay long with four friends at night in a school located at the foot of the hillock.
Narrating the horror, the man said at around 10.30 pm on Wednesday, he was sitting in the school room and chatting with his friends when he heard a loud sound.
"I ran out of the school to save myself and later found there was a landslide which damaged our houses. My parents are trapped under the debris. Now, nothing is left except the soil and debris on the spot where my house was located," he said fighting back tears.
Nobody was able to come out, narrated the man, who said he was yet to hear from his brother studying at the nearby ashram (residential) school.
A couple and their toddler were among those who managed to extricate themselves from the debris.
"I was sleeping when I realised we were covered by rubble and mud. I managed to pull out myself, my wife and child and then we all just ran out to save our lives," a man said.
"It was dark and I could hear screams of people but was not able to comprehend anything since I was unable to see what was going on. We are safe but our house is damaged," he said, his face exhibiting the pain and shock that the incident, which has taken 12 lives so far, has inflicted.
A woman, who too survived the incident, said her mind was unable to comprehend in the first few moments but soon realised a part of the hillock along her house had caved in.
"My house has been buried in the landslide. We do not have clothes or anything to eat. I don't know how we will be able to put this horrific incident behind us. My children and I have no idea how and where we are going to live amid such heavy rain," she said teary eyed.
An old man, who had come at the foot of the hill at night, said his family, including a three-year-old toddler, was buried in the debris but they managed to extricate themselves.
"We were sleeping when the landslide occurred. We managed to come out from the mud mound and ran to the base of the hillock," he said.
An anganwadi worker, who used to visit houses in the area, told reporters there were 45 houses at the site and 43 of them were affected by the landslide.
There were 229 people, including 25 children up to six years of age, staying in those houses, the woman claimed.
An elderly woman, who came from a nearby village, in a choked voice said five members of her family were trapped under the debris of the landslide.
As the search and rescue operation was underway at the site, relatives of the landslide-affected people rushed the spot to know the whereabouts of their near and dear ones.