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World

AFP
August 14, 2017

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At least 74 dead, dozens missing,in monsoon disasters across Nepal, India

At least 74 dead, dozens missing,in monsoon disasters across Nepal, India

KATHMANDU: Monsoon floods and landslides have killed at least 74 people across Nepal and India but officials fear that figure could rise sharply 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. 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. Twenty-five bodies have been recovered from the accident site in the Himalayan state, said Sandeep Kadam, a senior official at the scene, late on Sunday. But dozens were still missing somewhere at the bottom of the ravine, with soldiers and rescuers working into the night to reach those beneath the mud and rock.

"Around 200 metres of national highway washed away with two buses and more than 50 feared buried," said Indian army spokesman Colonel Aman Anand, who was helping coordinate rescue efforts. —AFP

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