Over 70 killed in Nepal, In­dia mon­soon on­slaught

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Of­fi­cials fear that fig­ure could al­most dou­ble as res­cuers search for dozens be­lieved lost un­der mud and in sub­merged vil­lage

Kath­mandu, Nepal - Mon­soon floods and land­slides have killed at least 66 peo­ple across Nepal and In­dia but of­fi­cials fear that fig­ure could al­most dou­ble as res­cuers search for dozens be­lieved lost un­der mud and in sub­merged vil­lages.

Au­thor­i­ties on Sun­day up­graded the death toll from flash flood­ing across land­locked Nepal to 49 as the water kept ris­ing, forc­ing thou­sands to flee for higher ground.

“An­other 17 are miss­ing. Search and res­cue works are un­der­way but the water lev­els have not de­clined yet,” said Shankar Hari Acharya, the chief of Nepal’s na­tional emer­gency cen­tre.

The Red Cross es­ti­mated a higher death toll of 53, with dozens more miss­ing and in­jured and thou­sands of homes de­stroyed.

Buses swept into gorge in In­dia

In neigh­bour­ing In­dia, res­cuers were des­per­ately try­ing to reach two packed buses swept into a gorge by a land­slide so pow­er­ful it de­stroyed an en­tire stretch of high­way.

The coaches had stopped for a tea break around mid­night on Satur­day in Hi­machal Pradesh when tonnes of rock and mud cas­caded down a moun­tain­side.

Seven­teen bod­ies have been re­cov­ered from the ac­ci­dent site in the Hi­malayan state, said San­deep Kadam, a se­nior of­fi­cial at the scene.

But dozens were still miss­ing some­where at the bot­tom of the ravine, with sol­diers and res­cuers claw­ing through the mud and rock to reach them.

“Around 200m of na­tional high­way washed away with two buses and more than 50 feared buried,” said Col Aman Anand, an In­dian army spokesman help­ing co­or­di­nate res­cue ef­forts.

In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi ex­tended his con­do­lences and prayers for those af­fected by the ac­ci­dent.

‘Pained by the loss of lives due to land­slide-re­lated ac­ci­dents in HP’s Mandi dis­trict’, he posted on Twit­ter, us­ing the acro­nym for Hi­machal Pradesh state.

The dis­as­ter fol­lowed days of heavy rain, which loosens the soil on steep hill­sides and threat­ens vil­lages at the foot of moun­tains every mon­soon sea­son.

(AFP)

An air­craft is parked on the flooded apron of a do­mes­tic air­port af­ter heavy rains, in Bi­rat­na­gar, Nepal, on Satur­day

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