By Deepak Adhikari
At least 26 people were killed in landslides that swept away houses in Nepal’s mountainous midwestern region, three months after earthquakes killed thousands of people in the country.
Landslides triggered by heavy monsoon rains struck several villages including two near the popular tourist town of Pokhara in the region after midnight on Thursday, crushing families who relied on subsistence farming, local authorities said.
“Twenty-three people were killed in two villages of Kaski district [150 miles west of Kathmandu]. In the village of Lumle, 16 people have been killed and 20 have gone missing,” Kedar Rajaure, Nepal Police’s district superintendent told Anadolu Agency by phone from Pokhara.
He said all seven dead in another village were women, adding that there were 14 injured and three missing.
The dead bodies of two people, including a child, were recovered from two villages of Myagdi district in the region, according to Tek Bahadur KC, the chief district officer.
“Five people have been missing in one of the villages. Security personnel are digging through the debris to find them,” he told Anadolu Agency.
The weather on Thursday morning was clear but the landslides had damaged the connecting road to the hamlet of Lumle, forcing the rescuers to walk for several hours, Mahesh Godar, a local police officer based in Pokhara, said.
An 83-year-old man was buried to death in his house in Raya Danda village of Baglung district, according to a Nepal Police statement issued on Thursday.
Hundreds of Nepalis die each year from floods and landslides during the country’s monsoon season, which runs between June and September.
Last month, 13 people were killed after deadly landslides struck Taplejung district in northeastern Nepal.
In May hundreds of people fled their homes after massive landslides blocked the Kali Gandaki River in Myagdi district.
Despite the warnings of landslides after two powerful quakes hit Nepal in spring, experts say the country has lagged behind in preparedness as natural disasters continue to strike, taking a toll on the remote mountain communities.