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Thursday, 22 August, 2002, 08:33 GMT 09:33 UK
Rescuers reach buried Nepal village
Flooded street in Kathmandu
Thousands have been made homeless by the floods
Rescue workers in Nepal have reached a remote mountain village engulfed by a massive landslide, reports say.


They are digging through the debris looking for any survivors and for bodies of those killed

Local official
Up to a hundred people are missing, feared dead a day after an avalanche of rock and mud, caused by monsoon rains, struck in the Himalayan foothills about 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of Kathmandu.

A helicopter packed with relief materials is still waiting at Kathmandu airport - bad weather has so far prevented it from flying out.

Correspondents say this is one of the worst disasters caused by the annual monsoon rains in nearly a decade.

Home Ministry spokesman Lekhnath Pokharel said 40 houses in the village, in the remote district of Ramechhap, were swept away as their occupants slept.

Ramechhap has poor communications and road links and the first rescue teams reached the site with great difficulty,Trilok Prasad Shrestha, administrator of Ramechhap district, said.

"They are digging through the debris looking for any survivors and for bodies of those killed," Mr Shrestha told Reuters news agency by phone.

Thousands homeless

The latest landslide brings the total number of people killed in floods and landslides in Nepal since July to more than 500. About 32,000 people have been made homeless.

Thousands are being housed in temporary shelters in more than half of Nepal's 75 districts.

The Red Cross is appealing for $1.6m to help provide food, shelter, blankets, clothing and water purification tablets to flood victims.

"Concern is growing for flood and landslide victims in Nepal as heavy monsoon rains extend westwards across the country and an exceptionally high snow pack and glacial melt-rate adds to the already swollen river volumes," the Red Cross said.

Landslides and flash floods are frequent in Nepal during the June-September monsoon season.

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

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

See also:

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11 Aug 02 | In Depth
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