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Three dead, 20 people feared trapped in India landslide

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In this handout picture taken on August 11, 2021 and released by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) shows National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel during rescue operations at the site of a landslide at the Reckong Peo-Shimla Highway in Kinnaur District in Himachal Pradesh. (Photo by – / National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) / AFP) /

Rescue workers were removing tonnes of rocks and mud Wednesday after a landslide buried a bus with around 20 people on board in India’s Himalayan north, with three deaths confirmed so far.

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“Ten people have been rescued from the site and rushed to local health facilities so far. All of them have injuries but should be okay after treatment,” a local police official from Himachal Pradesh state bordering Tibet told AFP.

“We have been told that there were at least 20-22 people in the bus, but we haven’t been able to get to the bus yet. It is still under the rubble, and rocks are still falling in the region,” the official added.

A statement from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police said three bodies had been removed so far.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with the state chief minister Wednesday and offered the national government’s support for the rescue operation involving the local border police and others.

Television channels showed images of a truck and cars mangled and half-buried in the debris as well as slabs of rock and bits of tree on the road.

Landslides are common in India’s northern Himalayan region, particularly in the current monsoon season when heavy rains lead to subsidence of earth and rocks.

The situation is exacerbated by climate change making the monsoon more erratic and melting glaciers higher in the mountains. Roads in the region are also often poorly maintained.

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