Up to 150 people feared trapped in landslide in India

by Reuters
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 10:01 GMT

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NEW DELHI, July 30 (Reuters) - Heavy rain triggered a landslide in India on Wednesday burying up to 150 people and rescuers were struggling through mud to try to reach them, a disaster official said.

The first batch of emergency workers had arrived at the scene, 60 km (37 miles) from the western city of Pune, but the rain, mud and poor communications were hampering rescue efforts, Sandeep Rai Rathore, inspector general of the national disaster force, told Reuters.

"The area is quite a difficult terrain," said Rathore, adding that rescuers were trying to determine how many people were caught in the landslide.

"The figure, it could be up to 150."

Seven teams of 42 rescue workers each were being sent to help, said the disaster force's deputy inspector general of operations, S.S. Guleria.

Rainy season downpours, though vital for India's agriculture, often bring disaster.

Unprecedented rain in June last year wreaked havoc across India's Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, causing rivers and lakes to burst their banks, inundating towns and villages and killing thousands of people.

Badly managed hydro-power projects were partly to blame for those floods, an environment ministry panel said in April. (Reporting by Sruthi Gottipati; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Malini Menon and Robert Birsel)

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