Aug. 14 (UPI) — Nearly 50 people are believed to be dead in India after a monsoon caused a landslide that buried two buses of passengers in Himachal Pradesh state, located in the northern part of the country, officials said.
“Forty-six bodies have been recovered, and of these 23 have been identified,” one official said, according to the Times of India.
Efforts to remove passengers from the rubble and locate survivors were hindered by heavy rains and threats of more landslides. Other vehicles and some houses were also washed away during the landslides.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh visited the site of the accident and said the government will pay for medical treatment of those injured, reported the Indian Express.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to offer his condolences.
“Pained by the loss of lives due to landslide related accidents in [Himachal Pradesh]’s Mandi district,” he wrote. “I pray for the quick recovery of those injured in Mandi district, Himachal Pradesh.”
Although monsoons are common in India, a recent study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that they have strengthened in the country over the past 15 years, resulting in a reversal of a “50-year drying period during which the monsoon season brought relatively little rain to northern and central India.”
Last year, nearly 500 people in India died due to flooding and thunderstorms.