Siliguri, May 27 (IANS) With the recovery of two more bodies, the toll in the landslides triggered by Cyclone Aila in West Bengal's hill district of Darjeeling rose to 24 Wednesday, the administration said.
Forty people have been injured, while some were still missing after the landslides in several hill sub-divisions Tuesday, Darjeeling additional District Magistrate P. Zimba told IANS.
'Two more bodies - one of them of a woman - were found today, taking the death count to 24. Four to five others are still missing,' Zimba said.
Fourteen of the bodies were found in areas under Darjeeling Sadar police station, three in Jorbanglow police station area and seven in Kurseong sub-division, he said.
The army, which had been called in to carry out the rescue operations in different parts of the hills, was withdrawn Wednesday, but Seema Sashastra Bal troopers were still on duty.
Two teams of the National Disaster Management Group have also been sent to Darjeeling to clear the roads, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said in Kolkata.
Bhattacharjee said he had asked the district magistrate to make arrangements for water and food for the affected.
More than 500 houses were damaged due to torrential rain that started Monday, when the devastating cyclone hit West Bengal, and continued Tuesday.
According to sources, nearly 100 landslides took place across Darjeeling and its adjoining areas inconveniencing thousands of locals living in the hilly region.
Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee told mediapersons in Kolkata that a large number of tourists have been stranded in Darjeeling without water or food, and promised to arrange a special coach for them once the landslides subsided.
The world-famous toy train, which runs from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling, continued to remain off track with debris from the landslides and uprooted trees clogging the railway lines at various spots.
State Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi, now holidaying in Darjeeling, visited the landslide affected areas and also spoke to the injured at Darjeeling Sadar hospital.
Cyclone Aila created havoc across West Bengal Monday, claiming a total of 84 lives by Wednesday.