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Nepal Landslide Leaves Dozens Feared Dead

2020-08-14 12:25:13

KATHMANDU, Nepal — A landslide caused in part by unusually heavy rain in a district of Nepal bordering China buried dozens of homes early Friday, killing at least 11 people and leaving 27 others missing, officials said.

Shreedhar Neupane, a press adviser to the speaker of Nepal’s House of Representatives, said on Friday that 38 people in the village of Lidi were believed to have been buried in the landslide. “The army has been retrieving dead bodies,” Mr. Neupane said.

He said that 11 bodies had been recovered so far, and that five critically injured people had been airlifted to Kathmandu, the capital. Thirty-seven homes in the village, which consists of about 150 houses built on a steep slope, were buried, and a few were swept away, Mr. Neupane said.

Soldiers, police officers, paramilitaries and local residents were mobilized for the rescue operation. The House speaker, Agni Prasad Sapkota, accompanied rescue personnel to the village by helicopter.

This season’s severe rainfall has made matters worse, officials said. “But we cannot just blame nature — the way we developed our infrastructures, particularly roads in quake-destabilized fragile landscapes, is causing frequent cases of landslides,” said Anil Pokhrel, chief executive of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority.

Adding to the problem, Mr. Pokhrel said, is that people in hilly regions like Sindhupalchok tend to grow rice, which requires more water than crops like maize or barley, leading to soil erosion.

He said Nepal would continue to see a high death toll from landslides if people in high-risk settlements like Lidi were not relocated.


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