News24

Nepal flood death toll rises

2012-05-07 10:01

Katmandu - Rescuers searching through mud and debris for flash-flood victims in northwestern Nepal had found 17 bodies by Monday, police said. Another 47 people, including three Ukrainian tourists, were missing and presumed dead.

Houses, farms, trucks and trailers were swept away when the Seti River, held back by an avalanche, burst through the snow blockage and sent water gushing through villages along its banks.

The flooding came with little warning on Saturday - a day when villagers traditionally wash clothes and bathe in the Seti and picnic with family and friends along the river.

Police official Shailesh Thapa, who is co-ordinating recovery efforts, said soldiers and police were working with villagers, wading through the muddy areas to search for bodies. Excavators were being used in the recovery work.

At least one bridge was damaged by the flooding about 200km northwest of capital, Katmandu.

Police say three of those missing are Ukrainian tourists. They identified them as Oleksandr Dubinskiy, Ivan Malaknov and Alla Polonchuk.

Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai flew to the area on Sunday and told the villagers the government had given top priority to the rescue and recovery. He also announced that the families of those killed would get $1 160 as immediate relief, and those who have lost their homes would receive $300.