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‘We heard a loud noise and a village vanished’

Geeta Gawari, relative of the victim at the landslide site at Malin in Pune district of Maharashtra. -- Photo: Vivek Bendre  

Santosh Kede was tilling his rice field next to Malin village when his friend came running to tell him that an entire mountain had collapsed. “He told me the mountain fell on Malin village. I thought he was exaggerating.”

It was not long before he realised that virtually the entire village had been flattened by a landslip.

His sister’s family had three homes in the village. They were reduced to rubble. Her entire 21-member joint family has not been traced. “My sister and her husband were in Pune. They are on their way back. They may be the only people left in their family,” said Mr. Kede.

A day after the massive landslip, only six houses and a lone primary school are left in Malin village. A sixth standard student Kamal Lembe’s notebook was found in one of the classrooms, but many fear she has not survived. She and ten members of her family are believed to be buried under the debris. “The more it rains, the less the chances of anyone surviving,” says National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) chief Shailendra Awasthi.

People from surrounding villages say they heard a loud noise at around 7.30 am on Wednesday. “We thought lightning had struck, but then someone said Malin village had gone missing from the hillock. The whole village had disappeared,” said Shankar Mukuf from the neighbouring Asan village.

The tribal village mainly has residents from the Mahadev Koli community. “They had almost completed the construction of a Maruti temple, which was also destroyed,” said Arun Ankush, a Malin resident.

Saloram Lombe is among the lucky ones who survived the catastrophe. He dropped his daughter at the nearby bus stand at 6 am and decided to begin working on his rice field. “Suddenly, boulders came crashing down on our homes and I knew immediately that no one could survive the calamity,” he said. But many others like Janardan Lombe can do little but wait as each agonising hour passes, for news of their families trapped under the debris. The landslip has completely disconnected the Chinchpada hamlet in Malin village. Janardan’s wife Kamal and seven-year-old son Kiran are trapped in the hamlet along with seven other families. “My wife and son ran towards the hamlet when they heard the noise. We can do nothing but wait till the path is cleared,” he said.

Correction:

This copy has been edited to incorporate the following correction:

>>The full form of NDRF was wrongly given as National Disaster Rescue Force

in the report, “ >We heard a loud noise and a village vanished” (August 1, 2014). It should have been National Disaster Response Force.


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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 10:43:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/we-heard-a-loud-noise-and-a-village-vanished/article6269485.ece

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