Ten Dead, Over 100 Feared Trapped in Devastating India Landslide Amidst Ongoing Monsoon Fury

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Members of rescue teams prepare graves to bury the victims after a landslide following heavy rains in Raigad district in the western state of Maharashtra, India, July 20, 2023. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

Rescue Workers in India Brave Difficult Terrain and Weather to Search for Survivors in the Aftermath of Heavy Rain

IRSHALWADI – The picturesque mountain hamlet of Irshalwadi in India’s Maharashtra state turned into a scene of tragedy as a devastating landslide struck the remote village, leaving at least ten people dead and more than 100 others feared trapped under debris. The catastrophe occurred after incessant rains soaked the mountain slope, causing it to collapse in the dead of night.

Rescue workers, undeterred by the challenging terrain and unfavorable weather conditions, embarked on a perilous mission to locate and save survivors in the aftermath of the disaster. The treacherous journey to the landslide site requires nearly two hours of trekking, with some rescuers even accompanied by sniffer dogs to aid in the search.

A drone view shows members of rescue teams prepare graves to bury the victims after a landslide following heavy rains in Raigad district in the western state of Maharashtra, India, July 20, 2023. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas
A drone view shows members of rescue teams prepare graves to bury the victims after a landslide following heavy rains in Raigad district in the western state of Maharashtra, India, July 20, 2023. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

Despite the ongoing heavy rain and fog, the rescue teams press on, diligently combing through the debris and avoiding tumbling boulders in their desperate attempts to locate signs of life. The arduous task is further complicated by the depth of the debris, which measures between 10 to 29 feet at certain points.

The state’s deputy chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, revealed that the village had an estimated population of 225, and while 80 people have been successfully rescued, over 100 individuals are still unaccounted for, sparking fears for their safety.

This calamity adds to the grim toll of natural disasters that have struck India recently, as a series of flash floods, landslides, and accidents triggered by heavy monsoon rains have claimed the lives of more than 100 people since the season began on June 1. Northern regions of India have experienced 41% more rainfall than usual, as reported by the India Meteorological Department.

Rescuers stand next to debris of a residential house that was damaged by a landslide in Raigad district in the western state of Maharashtra, India, July 20, 2023. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

Climate Change Concerns Escalate as Extreme Weather Wreaks Havoc in India and Beyond

The impact of the monsoon fury extends beyond the landslide tragedy, with widespread flooding, school closures, and disrupted transportation in both Maharashtra and Gujarat states. A red alert has been issued for the coasts of Maharashtra and Gujarat as more rain is expected in the coming days.

Climate change concerns are rising as extreme weather events wreak havoc across the globe. This recent wave of disasters highlights the urgent need for collective action to address the consequences of climate change and adopt measures to mitigate its impact.

In another distressing incident, the Yamuna river encroached upon the grounds of the iconic Taj Mahal for the first time in 45 years, submerging several historical monuments and gardens surrounding the majestic white-marble mausoleum. New Delhi, the nation’s capital, also faced severe flooding as jammed flood gates and a broken drainage regulator allowed the Yamuna’s waters to flood into the city, affecting areas around the historic Red Fort and Rajghat, the memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi.

As India grapples with the aftermath of these devastating events, rescue workers continue their valiant efforts to find survivors amidst the rubble in Irshalwadi. The disaster serves as a stark reminder of the increasing vulnerability of communities to the ravages of extreme weather, urging authorities and individuals to take proactive steps in building resilience and safeguarding lives. – Reuters