by Staff Writers
Mumbai (AFP) Aug 07, 2014
Rescue workers at the site of a huge landslide in western India last week said Thursday they had called off their search after finding 151 bodies.
Only eight survivors were rescued from the mud and debris after a hill gave way following heavy rains and came crashing down on a remote village in Maharashtra state on July 30.
The relief effort, which was hampered by ongoing monsoon downpours, was brought to a halt late Wednesday after the bodies of all those feared trapped were recovered, a spokeswoman for the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) told AFP.
"The state government will now take over to decide on the future of the village," she said.
Bulldozers and excavators also plucked out scores of dead cattle belonging to the villagers, according to the NDMA.
Officials visiting the site after the disaster expressed concern about the environmental balance in the area, where significant deforestation has taken place.
Neighbours in the landslide-prone area told AFP they feared they could be next.
Roughly 20 households remain in Malin village, which was hit by the landslide, who will now be moved to a safer area, a spokesman for the office of Maharashtra's chief minister said.
"They have lost everything. Even then, the remaining people are not ready to move, but we will convince them. A special officer will be assigned to look after the whole rebuilding effort," the spokesman said.
While India's annual rains are a lifeline for the country's economy, flooding, landslides and building collapses are frequent during the monsoon season.
Neighbouring Nepal suffered its worst landslide in more than a decade at the weekend, in which 156 people were presumed killed.
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