Land­slide hits 6 vil­lages in Nepal; 21 feared dead


A land­slide trig­gered by heavy rain­fall buried six vil­lages in Nepal’s moun­tain­ous north­east, and at least 21 peo­ple sleep­ing in the homes are be­lieved to have been killed, of­fi­cials said Thurs­day.

The land­slide hit dur­ing the night in Taple­jung dis­trict, about 500 kilo­me­ters (310 miles) east of the cap­i­tal, Kathmandu, said gov­ern­ment ad­min­is­tra­tor Suren­dra Bhat­tarai.

At least 21 peo­ple are feared to have died and sev­eral are miss­ing, but de­tails are sketchy be­cause of the re­mote­ness of the area.

The near­est town is at least five hours’ away on foot when the weather is good, but get­ting to the site was tak­ing much longer on Thurs­day be­cause of rains and fog that pre­vented a res­cue he­li­copter from land­ing, said Home Min­istry of­fi­cial Laxmi Dhakal in Kathmandu.

There are no gov­ern­ment of­fices or po­lice sta­tions in the area.

Land­slides are com­mon

in moun­tain­ous Nepal dur­ing the rainy mon­soon sea­son, which be­gan in June and ends in Septem­ber.

The Hi­malayan na­tion is still re­cov­er­ing from earth­quakes in April and May that killed more than 8,700 peo­ple and caused mas­sive dam­age, with many of the roads cut off by land­slides.

Mean­while, the gov­ern­ment an­nounced Thurs­day it would hire in­ter­na­tional ex­perts to study trekking routes in the moun­tains of Nepal to see if they are safe for hik­ers to re­turn.

Nine­teen peo­ple were killed and scores in­jured in an avalanche at Mount Ever­est base camp trig­gered by the April 25 quake. Also, the trails around the Lang­tang val­ley in north­ern Nepal were com­pletely dam­aged and an en­tire vil­lage buried by a land­slide and avalanche set off by the earth­quake.

Tens of thou­sands of for­eign­ers come to Nepal ev­ery year to trek on the foothills of the Hi­malayan peaks. The next trekking sea­son starts in Septem­ber.

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