Landslides triggered by heavy rains in Nepal and northern India had claimed dozens of lives by late Sunday, government officials confirmed. Flash floods have also forced thousands from their homes.
In Nepal, authorities said they had found at least 49 bodies of people killed by monsoon-related causes. The Red Cross estimated that at least 53 people had died, with many remaining missing amidst the destruction.
“Search and rescue works are underway but the water levels have not declined yet,” said Shankar Hari Acharya, the leader of Nepal’s national emergency center.
The floods have caused havoc in low-lying areas of Nepal
Buses swept away
In neighboring India, a landslide caused by the same torrential downpours swept two tour buses into a gorge as the cascading mud destroyed an entire stretch of the highway. Seventeen bodies had been recovered from the disaster site by late Sunday, while rescue workers attempted to reach others trapped at the bottom of the ravine.
“Around 200 meters of national highway washed away with two buses and more than 50 are feared buried,” said army spokesman Colonel Aman Anand.
Rescue and salvage operations were watched by many bystanders
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences for the victims of the disaster, saying he was “pained by the loss of lives.”
Heavy rains have been battering Nepal and northern India for days now, and the death toll from this year’s monsoon season – which usually lasts from June until the end of August – has already exceeded that of 2016.
es/tj (AFP, dpa)