55 killed in Nepal landslides

Kathmandu, June 12 (IANS) At least 55 have been killed in several landslides that hit Taplejung district in northeastern Nepal on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, media reported.

Republica, an English daily, said the massive landslides caused the death of 55 villagers in six village development committees and injured over one dozen, while nearly 40 are still missing as of Thursday evening.

Earlier, Shanti Raj Koirala, deputy superintendent of police based in Taplejung district told Xinhua over phone that 21 bodies had been recovered and another 27 people were missing.

Police officials involved in rescue operations said that incessant rainfall caused the massive landslides, burying or sweeping away several dozen houses in the six villages.

Since the search and rescue operation is still underway, and many injured people are in critical situation, the police is afraid that the death toll will continue to rise.

The tragedy happened just before this year’s monsoon, which, according to Nepal’s weather forecasting division, will arrive in this Himalayan nation within two days, provoking widespread fears that Nepal will face greater casualties in this rainy season after the devastating earthquake and its aftershocks.

Rishi Ram Sharma, director general at department of hydrology and meteorology said earlier that this year the monsoon will witness less rainfall, but the risk of disasters is as high as the previous years.

Generally, the four-month monsoon begins from June 10 and ends at September 23, according to the weather forecasting division of Nepal.

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