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April 28, 2017

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Officials say India landslide death toll climbs to 92

NEW DELHI -- Rescue workers Sunday discovered more bodies in the mud and debris of a devastating landslide in western India, taking the confirmed death toll to 92, an official said.

With dozens more villagers still missing, rescue workers kept up their grim search for victims of the landslide which destroyed a remote village in Maharashtra state on July 30.

"So far we have found 92 bodies and eight survivors. But we expect to find 68 more bodies," Alok Awasthi, commandant of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), told AFP.

"About 60 percent of the area has been cleared and more than 50 percent of the rescue effort is done," he said.

Rescue workers using diggers and other heavy machinery continued to be hampered by heavy rain, which is thought to have triggered the landslide, he said.

The "weather continues to be a big problem, it's slowing us down," he said of the 378-member rescue force.

Around 160 people were believed to be have been living in Malin village, most of which was destroyed when the hill behind it gave way, sending down tonnes of earth and trees.

Grieving relatives have been identifying bodies and attending mass cremations at their village after losing whole families.

State home minister R.R. Patil promised that affected families would receive proper rehabilitation, when he visited the village late Saturday.

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