KATHMANDU: Floods and landslides caused by torrential monsoon rains have killed at least 25 people in the last two days across Nepal, officials said yesterday. Heavy rains have hit more than a dozen districts in the country’s far eastern region as well as some areas in the west since Friday morning, the home ministry said.
Flooding has occurred across the densely populated lowlands that border India, while some remote districts in the hilly areas of the Far East have been hit by landslides triggered by the monsoon rains. “We are still collecting the details of the loss. According to the preliminary reports to the ministry over 25 people are feared dead,” Home Ministry spokesman Deepak Kafle told AFP. The Prime Minister’s office issued a statement putting the death toll at more than two dozen since Friday.
Thirteen people died in eastern districts and at least four others are missing, the head of the region’s police Ramesh Bhattarai said. Telephone and electricity lines have also been affected by the heavy downpour making it difficult to confirm the full extent of the damage in remote areas, the police chief added. Roads across the southern plains have been blocked by the rains and three highway bridges collapsed in western Banke district, Home Minister Janardan Sharma said at a press conference.
Images on social media showed the runway at Biratnagar airport in eastern Morang district submerged in a meter of water with an empty plane stranded on the tarmac. Chief of Morang district police Arun BC said that airport had been shut due to the flooding. The most recent deaths bring the total death toll from this year’s monsoon to over 90, according to government figures. Nearly 100 people died last year in Nepal during the rainy season, which typically begins in late June and lasts until the end of August.
Last weekend in the central lowlands, four girls from the same family drowned when they fell into a flooded roadside ditch. Another girl died and one was injured when they fell in open drains that had been submerged by monsoon flooding in the Kathmandu Valley last month. Footage shot by a bystander shows one of the girls tentatively navigating a flooded road, before suddenly disappearing into the brown muddy water. A few seconds later she appears out of another drain about 10 meters away. The video went viral on social media in Nepal, sparking outrage over the condition of the roads in the capital. Nepal’s weather department issued an alert Saturday warning that heavy rains were expected to continue for another day, and advised districts to close schools and residents to stay indoors. – AFP