180 dead as floods wash away homes
The death toll from three days of flooding and torrential rain in Nepal and India rose to more than 180 people yesterday, as relief teams sent food, tents and medicine to prevent any outbreaks of disease.
The worst-hit areas were in western Nepal and northern India, where swirling floodwaters submerged hundreds of villages and swept away homes made of mud and straw.
Four helicopters with relief supplies and medical workers were sent to cut-off villages in western Nepal, said Jhanka Nath Dhakal of the National Emergency Operation Center. Most roads into the area are submerged or damaged by flooding, preventing vehicles from passing.
Thousands of people are without shelter in 10 flooded districts, and local officials yesterday distributed rice and lentils and cooking pots to people who lost their homes. The area is mainly farmland where the poor live in mud and straw huts that wash away easily.
At least 100 people have died in Nepal and 84 in neighbouring India since Thursday due to torrential rains, authorities said.
The situation in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh worsened after dams were opened in Nepal, said Alok Ranjan, a top official in Uttar Pradesh. Along with incessant rain, the rising waters caused several rivers to breach their banks, he said.
Officials in the state reported 10 more deaths overnight, pushing its toll to 34 over the past three days.
Also in northern India, at least 50 people have died in Uttarakhand state, many of them washed away as rivers overflowed, submerging villages and fields.
People in the worst-affected villages were being evacuated to relief camps set up in government and school buildings, Ranjan said.
State authorities said paramilitary soldiers in about 400 boats were helping to evacuate people from their homes after entire villages were marooned in northern Uttar Pradesh.