Floods and landslides triggered by torrential rains made tens of thousands of people homeless and killed at least 18 in southern and southwestern Nepal, an official said yesterday, taking the national death toll from the monsoon to 68.
Many more people may have died in more than a week of seasonal downpours, but information has been slow to reach the country's capital, Kathmandu, because flooding and landslides have cut off communications and roads in rural areas, Home Ministry official Thir Bahadur Chetri said.
Seven people were crushed to death on Saturday when the house they were sheltering in was engulfed by a landslide in the village of Harsa in Gulmi District, about 300km west of Kathmandu, Chetri said.
Eleven more drowned or were missing and feared dead after being dragged away by raging floodwaters across south and southwestern Nepal on Friday night and on Saturday, he said.
It has been raining continuously for more than a week and the downpours are expected to continue in the south and southwest for a few days more, the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology said yesterday. The monsoon began last month.
Chetri said that the government was sending rescue teams armed with relief materials by helicopter to the affected areas, but added that resources were limited and bad weather was hampering their efforts.
At least 86,000 people have been made homeless as a result of the flooding in southern Nepal, Home Minister Krishna Sitaula told parliament on Saturday.
The government is providing money and temporary shelter for those who have been forced to flee their homes for higher ground, Sitaula said.
Police and soldiers have been deployed to help those who need to move to safer areas.
Scores of people are killed during the rainy season every year in landslides in the Himalayan country's mountains or flooding in the southern plains.