- Title: INDIA: Landslides in Darjeeling claim 20 lives and leave many tourists stranded
- Date: 28th May 2009
- Summary: LINE OF CORPSES
- Embargoed: 12th June 2009 15:55
- Location: India
- Country: India
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVABA9Q97OR0VW3H8BKZOI2CPPUG
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: At least 20 people were reported to have succumbed and many others injured as landslides, triggered by Cyclone Aila which progressed further and hit the hilly region of Darjeeling in India's eastern state of West Bengal on Tuesday (May 26).
Reportedly around 500 houses were damaged due to torrential rain that started on Monday (May 25) morning.
The landslides, which occurred around midnight, caught the victims unaware since almost all of the residents were asleep.
"Last night around 10.45 when I was sitting in my home, I heard a loud sound and went out to check as to what is going on. When I came out I realised that there was a landslide just above my house. Around five persons were killed as they were buried alive," Vijay Kumar Thapa, a local told media persons on Wednesday (May 27).
Authorities have called upon army and disaster management team to carry out rescue and salvage operations.
The rescue workers mentioned that the unavailability of earth-moving machinery and mechanical devices has delayed the rescue work.
"The way the rescue work should have been done is not being done because the required mechanical and logistical support is not available. Only manual support is there. The work that requires one hour is taking six to eight hours," observed Balram Singh, a local who assisted the personnel of Indian Army in the rescue work.
Meanwhile, hundreds of tourists have been stranded in Darjeeling, the picturesque summer resort in the foothills of Himalayas.
"We had a nice time holidaying in Darjeeling and were supposed to return but now due to the landslide we are stuck here and it's been 24 hours. We cannot go anywhere.
We had our reservations done for train but now that too has been cancelled. We are not sure whether we will get the next train or not," said Manisha Tiwari, a tourist from national capital New Delhi.
Cyclone Aila that originated over the Bay of Bengal on Monday (May 25) caused havoc in many parts of West Bengal and Bangladesh.
The resultant thunderstorm, tidal waves and flooding forced half a million people to abandon their homes.
- Copyright Holder: ANI (India)
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2011. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: WARNING: Editors please note, this clip contains graphic material