Ten people of a slum in suburban Mumbai were killed and 13 others injured in a landslip on Thursday night, when heavy rain lashed the city.
Among the deceased were three children. The victims were rushed to a nearby government hospital. Vinayak Shinde, senior medical officer at the hospital said that all the injured were in a stable condition.
Between 10.30 p.m. and 11.30 p.m, huge boulders came crashing down on the tiny hutments precariously flanking a heavily quarried hillock in the Saki Naka slum, near Ghatkopar.
In order to clear the area, fire service personnel and civic workers had to cut the boulders with multiple pneumatic breakers -- a task made exceedingly difficult by the congested surrounding. "The boulders are too big and they are spread over a big area," said Mumbai's fire chief P.D. Karguppikar.
Rescues operations are expected to continue till Saturday. Fire officers at the site said that four were feared trapped.
'No precise information'
"We don't have any precise information on the possibility of people trapped. Residents are saying there is always a possibility, but they are not able to tell us the names etc. We are still clearing the area and I expect the operation to last another 24 hours," Mr. Karguppikar told The Hindu.
In a tragic case, a poor family lost five of its members. Bahlul Dana Shah (50), Sufia Khatun (16), Rubina Khatun (26), Vaish Ashraf (11) and Rafia Khatun (45) were all crushed to death. Rafiya's son Salman was the only survivor.
Mohammed Shahid Shah, Rafiya's nephew said that the family had returned home around 10.30 p.m. after offering namaz, and they were about to sit together for dinner.
"There was a rock hanging by the side of the hill. Everything came crashing when the lightening struck. Such incidents take place every year," Mr. Shahid said.
A sobbing Ashwini Halwai (12), her head in swathes, sat next to her mother on a hospital bed. She underwent three stitches on her leg. "I was watching TV. We heard a sound and mother opened the door. All the stones came in. I was trapped underneath and had to scream for help."
Jyoti Mishra (19) was almost inconsolable. She kept calling out for her father, Adhyashakar Mishra, who lost his life in the accident. Her brother was badly injured.
Many of the survivors, like young Salman and Jyoti, have been rendered homeless. Congress MP Priya Dutt and Maharashtra Minister of State for Home (Urban) visited the affected site. of housing in Mumbai. Deputy Collector A.K. Patil said the ruined houses had come up on encroached land and the municipal corporation had sent a notice to the residents.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan announced compensation of Rs. one lakh for the families of the deceased and Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 25,000 for those injured.