Dozens of people are still missing since the landslide hit Irshalwadi village in Maharashtra on Wednesday night in Raigadh district.
Hundreds of rescuers recovered 27 bodies as they pushed on with a fourth day of searching for many people still missing after heavy monsoon rains sparked a massive landslide in a village in western India, according to an official.
Seventy-eight people are still missing since the landslide hit Irshalwadi village on Wednesday night in Raigadh district, nearly 80 km (50 miles) from Mumbai, the state capital of Maharashtra.
At least 17 of the village’s 48 houses were fully or partially buried under the rubble, officials said.
“We have so far counted 27 bodies and around 50 to 60 people are still missing, but there are multiple challenges for rescue at the site,” Raigad official Yogesh Mhase told AFP on Sunday.
The hilltop location and difficult terrain hampered efforts, officials said.
“We are facing the huge challenge of not being able to transport heavy equipment, that’s why everything is done manually,” Pramod Kumar Singh of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) told local news outlet ANI.
From the bottom of the hill, it takes about 90 minutes to reach Irshalwadi on foot. Rainfall and the threat of further landslides caused the rescue operation to be suspended overnight, the relief agency said.
The dead included four children, the Press Trust of India news agency said, adding that 75 people were rescued. Four people were hospitalized.
India’s meteorological department has placed Maharashtra on high alert as the state was hit by incessant rains last week. Local train service was disrupted in several places, with water leaking inside stations and onto tracks, media reported.
Record monsoon rains have killed more than 100 people in northern India in the past three weeks, officials said, as downpours caused roads to collapse and houses to crumble.
India regularly experiences severe flooding during the monsoon season, which runs from June to September and brings most of South Asia’s annual rainfall. Rains are crucial for seasonally planted rainfed crops but often cause significant damage.
Scientists say monsoons are becoming more erratic due to climate change, leading to frequent landslides and flash floods in the northern Indian Himalayas.