Death toll in Nepal floods, landslides rises to 49


At least 36 persons have been reported missing in the low-lying areas, over 20 injured and thousands of families have been displaced since Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.

"Hundreds of volunteers from Nepal Red Cross Society are working with local people, local security forces and emergency teams to rescue people and evacuate them to safety", said Dev Ratna Dhakhwa, Secretary General, Nepal Red Cross Society.

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. Officials said they were fixing the electricity lines.

Rescue efforts were hampered by incessant rain and roads that were washed away in many places.

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.

The tourists were stranded in Sauraha as the swollen Rapti and Budhirapti rivers inundated many hotels in the Mid-Nepal tourist destination, according to media reports.

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The meteorological department forecast that central and western plains were likely to receive heavy rainfall from this evening.

The Home Ministry said Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Saptari, Rautahat, Sarlahi, Dang and Banke districts were the most affected by floods.

"Hundreds of families are taking shelter in local schools". Suman Ghimire, chairman of the Regional Hotel Association, said that around 700 tourists - including 200 Nepalese and 200 Indian visitors - were trapped and around 100 hotels were waterlogged.

"I have already instructed authorities concerned to rescue flood victims, move them to safer locations and immediately provide relief to them", Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba said in a video recording Saturday.

More than 35,000 houses have been partially submerged, about 1,000 damaged and close to 400 livestock have died due to the flooding, the ministry data showed.