India landslide: Rescuers push on as death toll rises
Rescue teams were battling heavy rain while looking for survivors of a deadly landslide in India's state of Maharashtra
At least 26 people have died and dozens are suspected to still be trapped under the debris after a massive landslide hit a village in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.
The landslide occurred late Wednesday night in the state's Raigad district following several hours of incessant rainfall.
Scores of rescuers and trekkers have been deployed to the hilly area for the third day to aid the search.
Rescue workers struggle
However, rescue efforts are being hindered by continuous rainfall, poor visibility, and difficult terrain. These factors make it impossible for rescue teams to move heavy machinery to the site, according to officials.
"We are working on our technical equipment, our rescue techniques. We cannot judge as of now how many people are still stuck," SB Singh, an official with the National Disaster Response Force, told the Reuters news agency.
The part of the Irshalwadi village destroyed by the landslide is located on the slope of a hill. Officials believe at least 225 people use to live in the affected area.
More than 70 people have been rescued so far, an official told the Press Trust of India news agency.
Officials also set up temporary shelters equipped with basic facilities for the surviving villagers.
Extreme bad weather predicted
According to the Times of India, at least 80 people are still missing and have yet to be traced.
"We are losing hope as the mud has engulfed entire houses, waist high. The rescue workers have still not removed the mud," Mangesh Bhagya Bohar told the AFP news agency.
Bohar is still searching for his missing brother.
"The landslide was so huge that we are still unable to identify where the house is," he added.
India's weather forecasting agency had assigned an orange alert to the district for the next few days, predicting extremely bad weather that could cause disruptions to transport links and power supply.
Several parts of India have been battered by rains since June, causing flooding and landslides that killed dozens of people.
According to scientists, monsoons are becoming more erratic due to climate change, leading to more frequent landslides and flashfloods in India's Himalayan north.