52 dead, 37 missing in Nepal floods, landslides since Friday night

Nepalese men carry children on their shoulders as they wade through flood waters in village Ramgadhwa in Birgunj, Nepal, Sunday. An official said torrential rain, landslides and flooding have killed dozens of people in Nepal over the past three days, washing away hundreds of homes and damaging roads and bridges across the Himalayan country. (AP photo)

The death toll in rain-induced disasters since Friday night in Nepal’s southern flatlands has risen to 52 with 37 people missing, the Home Ministry said Sunday.

“Twenty-two additional people died Sunday,” Krishna Bahadur Raut, chief of the ministry’s National Emergency Operation Center, told Kyodo News. Some 30 people had earlier died of drowning or by being buried by landslide debris in the 24 hours since Friday night.

Hundreds of cities, towns and villages in 25 districts in Nepal’s flatlands neighboring India have experienced flooding due to incessant rainfall, inundating 34,843 houses.

Electricity supply has been hit in most parts of eastern Nepal and telecom services are down in many of the affected districts.

Security forces are struggling to provide rescue and relief to the affected as portions of highways have either been swept away, collapsed or are obstructed by debris from landslides in many places. Aerial rescue and relief have also been hampered by bad weather.

Nepal’s National News Agency reported Sunday that 600 tourists, including 400 foreigners, are trapped in the town of Sauraha in southwestern Nepal.

The resort town is a popular tourist destination and home to the famed Chitwan National Park where visitors go on safaris and elephant rides. Fatalities have not been reported and efforts are being made to transport stranded tourists to safer places on elephants and rubber rafts.

Monsoon rains wreak havoc in Nepal’s southern plains and neighboring Indian states every year.

Meteorologists say the torrential rain will continue till Monday.

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