Nepal: Flood,landslide kill 49 people

Cheryl Sanders
August 13, 2017

Authorities Sunday upgraded the death toll from flash flooding across landlocked Nepal to 49 as the water kept rising, forcing thousands to flee for higher ground.

The death toll due to flooding and landslides across Nepal since Friday reached 49, officials said.

Dozens of elephants and rafts have been deployed to rescue almost 500 people trapped by floods in a popular resort in southern Nepal, officials say.

The coaches had stopped for a tea break around midnight Saturday in Himachal Pradesh when tonnes of rock and mud cascaded down a mountainside.

Highways were either damaged or inundated, disrupting transport, the police said.

But dozens were still missing somewhere at the bottom of the ravine, with soldiers and rescuers clawing through the mud and rock to reach them. Many roads are submerged or covered by debris from landslides, providing further challenges to rescue efforts.

Weather experts said more rain was expected overnight and the government has told residents to remain alert.

The torrential rains hit the country's southern plains and eastern hills, triggering landslides and inundating hundreds of towns and villages. "We have more than 30 people confirmed dead".

Last weekend in the central lowlands, four girls from the same family drowned when they fell into a flooded roadside ditch.

The Home Ministry said Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Saptari, Rautahat, Sarlahi, Dang and Banke districts were the most affected by floods. Local officials have opened temporary shelters for displaced people in schools or public buildings.

The District Natural Disaster Rescue Committee has distributed dry foods to victims in the flood-hit areas. Suman Ghimire, chairman of the Regional Hotel Association, said that around 700 tourists - including 200 Nepalese and 200 Indian visitors - were trapped and around 100 hotels were waterlogged.

Meanwhile, Nepal Cabinet held an emergency meeting during which Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba ordered the local district administrations to intensify the rescue and release activities.

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