May 31, 2009

Darjeeling landslide toll reaches 27

Siliguri,28 th May: With the recovery of three more bodies, the toll in the landslides in West Bengal's hill district of Darjeeling due to Cyclone Aila has risen to 27, police said on Thursday.

"We have recovered three bodies from the debris at Rangiabong under Jorbungalow police station area this (Thursday) morning. One of the bodies has been identified as Pramila Rai, 68," a senior official of the Jorbungalow police station said. He said the teams of Natural Disaster Management Authority have started rescue operations in the cyclone-hit areas.

Meanwhile, State Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen reached Darjeeling Thursday morning to hold meetings with the district administration. He is likely to visit the landslide-affected zones and will also survey the situation there. "Search operations are on in some areas as at least four people are still missing from the Darjeeling district after the cyclonic storm," the police officer said.

According to district administration sources, 14 bodies were found in areas under Darjeeling Sadar police station, six in Jorbanglow police station area and seven in Kurseong sub-division.More than 500 houses were damaged due to torrential rain that started Monday, when Cyclone Aila hit West Bengal and continued on Tuesday.

Nearly 100 landslides took place across Darjeeling and its adjoining areas inconveniencing thousands of residents living in the hilly region. Cyclone Aila created havoc across West Bengal Monday, claiming a total of 87 lives by Thursday. 

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