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Thursday, 25 July, 2002, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
Nepal landslides claim more lives
Flooded street in Kathmandu
The monsoon rains have paralysed normal life
At least 50 people have been killed in landslides in central Nepal, bringing the death toll in a little over a week of torrential monsoon rain to more than 150.

Bangladeshi woman wades through flood water
Several countries in the region face flooding

The latest landslides hit three remote hill villages in the district of Makawanpur on Wednesday.

Dozens of others are missing and thousands have been displaced since the downpour began in central and eastern parts of the country.

Monsoon rains have also triggered flash floods and mudslides in Bangladesh and parts of eastern India.

Soldiers and police have been deployed across the region to help the hundreds of thousands of people who have been affected.

Search for survivors

In Makawanpur, district administrator Dipak Kumar Joshi confirmed that the 50 people died when massive landslides swept away several residential houses.

Rescue workers at landslide near Kathmandu
At least 50 people are still missing in Nepal

Another 50 are missing, he said, adding their chances of survival were very slim.

Mr Joshi told the BBC that the treacherous terrain had hampered the search for survivors as well as the distribution of emergency food and medicine.

Houses have collapsed and hundreds of hectares of farmland has been inundated across Nepal, with the worst damage in the eastern and central parts of the country.

Transport on major highways linking Kathmandu with the rest of the country has been blocked at several points and efforts are being made to clear the roads.

But the rains have now eased and meteorologists say although the monsoon will continue for a few more days, it will not be as intense.

Forty-six people died last week when landslides swept away two villages in the eastern hill district, Khotang.

Floods and landslides claimed more than 100 lives in Nepal last year.

Annual emergency

In Bangladesh, the army was deployed on Wednesday to join rescue operations.

Reports say that monsoon rains have killed about 50 people in the past two weeks, including some who have died of waterborne diseases.

Soldiers are working to clear key highways blocked by mudslides.

In India's north-eastern Assam state, flash floods have now affected over more than one million people, more than 250,000 of whom have been forced to leave their homes.

On Wednesday, 12 people, travelling on a boat on the Brahmaputra River to safer ground, drowned in Nagaon district, and officials said efforts to find their bodies had failed.

On Monday, several embankments on the Brahmaputra breached engulfing more than 600 villages and inundating about 30,000 hectares of cropped land.

Floods have also badly affected parts of the Indian states of Bihar and West Bengal.

Environmentalists blame soil erosion, the silting of river beds and the growing population of flood plains for recurrent flooding and the damage it cause.

See also:

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