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INDIA: Sixteen dead, dozens trapped in deadly Maharashtra landslide

Sixteen people have died and dozens are feared to be trapped after a massive landslide hit a village in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.

The landslide occurred in Irshalwadi village in Raigad district on Wednesday night and flattened out several homes.

Rescue efforts have resumed after they were halted on Thursday night due to heavy rain.

Officials say the disaster spot is located on a hilltop and the tough terrain is hindering rescue operations.

An unnamed official told the Press Trust of India that around 119 villagers are yet to be traced – this include those who may not have been in the village when the landslide occurred.

Several states in India have been receiving heavy rainfall over the past two weeks, triggering floods and landslides. India’s weather department has said that heavy rainfall will continue over the next few days in parts of Maharashtra state, including Raigad district.

Wednesday’s landslide hit a remote village located on the slope of a hill. Around 17 houses out of 50 in the area have sustained damage.

The uphill terrain, which has become slippery due to the rains, is making it hard for heavy machines such as JCBs to reach the spot and officials say a large portion of the mud had to be cleared manually.

National disaster response teams, the police and medical teams are currently involved in relief efforts. Locals and trekkers have also been included in the rescue operations.

Relief camps have been set up at the bottom of the hill and about 21 people have been rescued so far, officials said.

“Our priority is to evacuate people from the scene and treat the injured immediately,” federal home minister Amit Shah tweeted.

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde has announced compensation of 500,000 rupees ($6,000; £4,700) each to the families of those who have died.

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