Torrential rain triggered a landslide that ripped through a village in India, killing 23 people with 170 others missing as officials predicted the death toll will rise.
Indian Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh is due to visit the area, near the western city of Pune in the state of Maharashtra, today. Mechanical diggers and rescue workers with shovels are helping to dig out the villagers, some of whom were in their beds when the landslide swept through the area.
“It is inevitable that we will find more dead bodies,” Pune Additional District Collector Ganesh Patil said in a telephone interview today. “The rescue effort is being made more difficult because of the weather conditions.”
India’s monsoon, which accounts for more than 70 percent of the country’s rainfall, is vital for farmers even as it sometimes causes destruction. The government estimates more than 5,000 people were killed or missing in flooding last year in the north, the nation’s worst natural disaster since the Indian Ocean tsunami almost a decade ago.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the deaths as “saddening” in a post on his official Twitter Inc. page yesterday.
More than 40 homes were buried when the landslide hit early yesterday morning, Patil said. Rescue workers have found 24 survivors so far, he said.