The search and rescue operation at Irshalwadi village in Maharashtra Landslide in Raigad district, where a devastating incident resulted in the loss of at least 22 lives, entered its third day on Saturday as 86 villagers remain unaccounted for, according to officials.
The tragic landslide occurred on Wednesday night in the tribal village, which is situated on a hill slope under Khalapur tehsil, approximately 80 km from Mumbai. The death toll, which was 16 on Thursday evening, increased to 22 on Friday as six more bodies were recovered. Among the deceased were nine men, nine women, and four children, including nine members of a single family.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and other government agencies resumed the search and rescue operation on Saturday morning after it was suspended on Friday evening due to heavy rains. Four NDRF teams and other agencies are involved in the efforts. At least 17 out of 48 houses in the village were either fully or partially buried under the debris of the landslide.
The Raigad district disaster management office reported that out of 229 village residents, 22 were confirmed dead, 10 were injured, 111 were safe, and 86 individuals were still unaccounted for. Some of the missing villagers had left the village to attend a wedding, while others were engaged in rice plantation work at the time of the tragic incident.
The victims recovered on Friday included three men, three women, and four children aged between six months and four years. Among the deceased were a three-year-old boy and his six-month-old sister, who were part of the nine members of one family who tragically lost their lives.
Due to the lack of a proper road in the village, earth movers and excavators are unable to reach the location, and the rescue operation is being carried out manually. The village, which is overlooked by Irshalgad fort, a popular trekking destination, has faced immense challenges in the aftermath of the disaster.
As a response to the tragic landslide, the Maharashtra government has made the decision to relocate residents from all landslide-prone areas in the state to safer locations, as announced by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in the state legislative assembly on Friday. Irshalwadi hamlet was not previously identified as a landslide-prone area. It is a somber reminder of the 2021 landslide incident at Taliye village in Mahad tehsil of Raigad district, which claimed the lives of 87 people.