The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team recovered 134 bodies buried in the landslide at Malin by late Monday evening with rain hampering their efforts yet again. The bodies so far recovered were of 50 men, 64 women and 20 children.
Then bodies were taken immediately to the Primary Health Centre where they were packed in bodybags, most of the bodies being in a highly decomposed state.
They were taken in ambulances to the funeral site where they were consigned to flames in a mass funeral that has been on for the past 3-4 days at the village.
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The village continued to be visited by anxious relatives. Among them were Nanda and Dashrath Lembhe from Mumbai who had lost 11 relatives. “My two sisters-in-law, mother-in-law and nephews and nieces were there and we have been unable to locate even one of them,” said a distraught Nanda.
Among the bodies recovered today were six males, 13 females and four children. Carcass of 11 animals were also dug out.
Talking to The Indian Express, Alok Awasthi, Commandant NDRF, who has been stationed there said that from day one, they have been working towards the target of finding 158 missing persons.
“We managed to rescue eight alive and till now recovered 130 dead. There are 20 more left – we may get them in one hour or a couple of more days but we are not moving till we get all the heads we have to account for. We have used all means available to us, prepared a map that we are following and are even going by the hit and trial method many a time but are moving ahead consistently,” said Awasthi.
He admitted that heavy rain continued to hamper operations. “It’s a marshy land and even the approach is marshy. We saved eight persons on the first day using heavy machinery but because of heavy rain we cannot put all our equipment to use together. Had the rain been less there could have been more survivors.” He said the roads jammed on the first day due to rush of vehicles were also a hinderance. “We had to get out of our vehicles and travel on foot in rain carrying equipment as we wanted to reach the site as soon as possible,” he said.
Awasthi said that 360 NDRF men are taking up the challenge. “They are tough, motivated. We ensure each gets at least 18 hours of rest every day as work is demanding,” he said.
District collector Saurabh Rao, who visited the rescue site, said that the Geological Survey of India (GSI) had looked at the vulnerability of other villages and said there was nothing to be scared of.
“Nevertheless, we have posted special people and are planning to have a landslide management team in future,” he said.