Nepal floods: Elephants deployed in rescue efforts

Nepal floods: Elephants deployed in rescue efforts

Several hotels in Sauraha, in Chitwan district, have been inundated, trapping the tourists, many of them foreigners. Local officials have opened temporary shelters for displaced people in schools or public buildings.

Suman Ghimire, chairman of the Regional Hotel Association, said the trapped tourists were being rescued with the help of elephants.

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, at least 13 persons were injured in the rain-related incidents and 17 others remained missing.

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 monsoon, it added, was gradually getting weaker in the eastern region and moving towards the western region.

Authorities Sunday upgraded the death toll from flash flooding across landlocked Nepal to 49 as the water kept rising, forcing thousands to flee for higher ground.

Police said they recovered six bodies.

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Of the 600 tourists stranded in the Chitwan Valley, almost 200 were from India and about the same number from other countries.

Pictures showed collapsed bridges and roads submerged or covered by debris from landslides, hampering the rescue efforts.

Some 35,843 houses have been inundated, 1,000 houses are damaged and 397 livestock died in the floods, the ministry data said.

Yesterday, the Nepal government Cabinet held an emergency meeting.

"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.

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