58 perish in Nepal landslides

At least 58 people have been killed in Nepal and over 30 are missing after massive landslides engulfed homes following heavy rains throughout the country this week, state-run radio said Friday.

    Two thirds of the country has been overwhelmed by torrential rain.

    A total of 22 people were killed in Manakamana village in the Gorkha district, 85 kilometres (53 miles) west of Kathmandu, when seven houses were buried in a landslide Wednesday night, it said.

    Reports said 11 died in Chitwan district, nine in Nawalparasi, seven in Makwanpur, six in Tanahun, and one each in Rupandehi, Bara and Siraha districts.

    Royal Nepal Army and police teams dispatched from Kathmandu were carrying out relief operations in landslide-affected areas, the radio report said.

    Monsoon toll

    Since the beginning of the monsoon season in June, 120 people had been killed in landslides and floods, 27 are missing and 57 injured, the Annapurna Post newspaper said. A total of 1,443 houses had been completely destroyed and 3,199 families affected.

    Almost all the highways that link the Nepalese capital with the rest of the country have been closed by the landslides, which are common in Nepal's summer as snow melts in the Himalayas and lowland areas are hit by monsoon rains.

    Home ministry spokesman Gopendra Bahadur Pandey told AFP that the incessant rains have caused widespread damage in two-thirds of the country.

    "Local administrators are preparing the list of human casualties and damage to the property caused by the floods and landslides,” Pandey said.

    Lights out

    The floods have extensively damaged Marsyangdi hydro-electric power station,  Nepal's second largest, in the west of the country, a Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) official said.

    "The Marsyangdi power plant was forced to shut down following Wednesday's floods," project manager Dev Sharma Poudel said.

    "The power plant has been completely flooded, affecting power generation," he said, adding it may take at least a week for power generation to resume.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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