RAIGAD: Hopes faded Friday for the survival of dozens missing after a landslide smashed into a village in India, as rescuers battled rains and difficult terrain. Heavy equipment cannot be brought to the hilly, forested site in Raigad district and emergency personnel scrambled at mounds of earth and rubble as families tried to hold back their tears.

Laxmi Kaluram Gavand broke down as she told of how her entire family had been wiped out. “All 10 members are gone. No one has survived from the family.” So far 22 people have been confirmed dead since the landslide on Thursday, India’s National Disaster Response Force said. The brother of Mangesh Bhagya Bohar, 50, was among dozens of people believed to be missing. “We are losing hope as the mud has engulfed entire houses, waist high. The rescue workers have still not removed the mud,” he said.

“The landslide was so huge that we are still unable to identify where the house is.” India has been battered by rains since the start of the monsoon season in June, and flooding and landslides have killed scores of people. Monsoon rains are vital to replenishing rivers and groundwater, but the deluge also causes widespread destruction every year. Experts say climate change is increasing the number of extreme weather events around the world, with damming, deforestation and development projects in India exacerbating the human toll. – AFP