Seven teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) comprising 300 personnel pressed into search and rescue operations in Malin village were finding rescue efforts rough in the muddy terrain where rain that triggered the landslide was continuing. The time lost was also affecting chances of survival of those buried, according to NDRF officers.
The NDRF base in Talegaon near Pune was informed about the landslide near Bhimashankar in the morning by the district administration and initially two teams were sent. NDRF Commandant Alok Awasthi said, “As our first two teams comprising around 100 personnel reached the spot, it was clear that we would need more strength and soon around 200 more were sent.”
NDRF’s first teams reached the spot around noon and started operations. NDRF deputy inspector general (operations) S S Guleria said, “The first difficulty before our teams was the approach route was blocked by several vehicles and the entire area was muddy. Our personnel had to walk seven kilometres carrying the equipment.”
According to Guleria, the affected area on the western side of the village was 100 meters in length and over 150 meters wide and the debris could be around 20 feet deep.
According to the NDRF’s primary information, until 7 pm, the number of people believed to be trapped was 158, with 37 males, 60 females and 61 children missing. Fourteen injured were rescued and 20 bodies were taken out.
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He added, “I have to admit that as the time passes, chances of survival become thinner. The houses are buried in mud. Our teams are carrying state-of-the-art cutting and drilling equipment and lights. But the mud has to be removed slowly and with buckets. We require a lot of local support in these cases and we are getting it.”
More teams of NDRF from their Mumbai base are likely to be pressed into operation. An unmanned aerial vehicle has been kept on standby. A team from the Fire Brigade of Pune Municipal Corporation was sent to the spot to assist in the rescue operation.
Landslide hits state on day it sets up MDRF
Mumbai: The state cabinet Wednesday decided to set up Maharashtra Disaster Response Force (MDRF) on the lines of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to tackle natural calamities within the state. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan mooted the proposal for cabinet nod on the day a major landslide in Ambegaon taluka of Pune district wiped out almost the entire Malin village.
Officials in the CMO said the proposal for MDRF was already listed on the agenda a day before. “It was sheer coincidence that the day the cabinet gave its nod for the MDRF, a major tragedy struck,” said an official.
Meanwhile, NCP president Sharad Pawar said he would visit the area Thursday. ens