Floods and landslides hit Nepal

Officials in the tiny Himalayan nation of Nepal said on Sunday that landslides and floods caused by torrential rains had killed at least 15 people in the past 24 hours, and expressed concern the death toll could rise as more heavy rains were expected.

Police spokesman Dhan Bahadur Karki said 18 people were injured and two were missing in floods over the past 24 hours. Dozens of people had been evacuated to safety, some of them rescued from the rubble of their destroyed homes.

Officials said landslides had blocked vehicle traffic in much of the country, where the terrain was already difficult to navigate. Main roads were damaged, as were winding roads connecting cities to mountain villages. Troops and police were deployed to clear the roads.

The worst affected areas are Kosi, Gandaki and Bagmati states in the eastern and central parts of the country, and weather experts have predicted that heavy rains are likely in the remaining states as the rains move westwards.

Nepal is one of the most vulnerable places to climate change, and landslides and floods are frequent. Last year’s monsoon affected around 6,000 families, destroying their homes and flooding their fields. At least 62 people have lost their lives since the current monsoon season began in June, according to the Nepal Ministry of Home Affairs. Most of the deaths were caused by flooding, but lightning strikes were also a contributing factor.

Political instability and widespread corruption further complicate an already under-resourced disaster response.

Kathmandu’s ruling coalition is once again in disarray, with a new alliance seeking to oust current Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, whose ouster would mean the country would have only a second government since parliamentary elections in November 2022.


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