3 days of Nepal floods leave 54 dead, 142 missing
KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Flooding and landslides in western Nepal have killed at least 54 people and left 142 missing amid continuous rainfall over the past three days, officials said Saturday.
Ten districts in the area have been flooded, with rescuers recovering 54 bodies, police official Kesh Bahadur Shahi said, adding that the death toll is expected to rise.
It has been raining since Thursday in the region, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) west of the capital, Katmandu.
Highways and roads were either flooded or blocked by landslides in the districts, stopping rescuers from reaching remote villages.
Power lines were snapped and communication towers were knocked down by the flooding, stranding thousands of people in the area.
Shahi, who is coordinating the rescue efforts, said there were tens of thousands of people in the villages who could not be reached. Farmlands were washed away and houses were flooded, forcing people to flee to higher ground.
The poor weather conditions were also making it difficult for rescue helicopters to reach the area.
Trucks loaded with emergency supplies, food, tents and plastic sheets were being sent to the flooded area, but their reach was limited by the blocked roads, Shahi said.
Heavy rain and landslides have also killed 24 people in neighboring India’s Uttarakhand state over the past two days, police official T.M. Tamta said. The state shares a border with Nepal.
The rainy season in South Asia runs from June through September. Landslides in mountainous areas and flooding in the southern plains are common during the monsoon season.
Earlier this month, a massive landslide near Katmandu killed 156 people.
Last year, more than 6,000 people were killed as floods and landslides swept through Uttarakhand state during the monsoon season. Heavy deforestation over the last few decades have made the area more vulnerable to landslides