Kathmandu, September 14 (efe-epa).- The death toll in a landslide in northeastern Nepal climbed to 14 on Monday, while 17 people continue to remain missing, according to official sources.
On Sunday morning, two human settlements in two different locations were swept away or buried by masses of rock, earth or debris that slid down a more than one-kilometer long slope in Dhumthang in Bahrabise Municipality, Sindhupalchok.
Search and rescue efforts have been hampered by a large amount of debris accumulated in the site, Sindhupalchok’s Chief District Officer Umesh Kumar Dhakal told EFE.
“We will be using excavators to dig the deposits of muds and rocks,” he said, adding that it would take a few more days to recover all the bodies.
According to Dhakal, some 20 houses have been damaged by the landslide, and more than five dozen families have been shifted to safer areas.
The official said that the massive landslide occurred as a result of a fragile landmass that may have been weakened by the devastating earthquake of April 2015, which killed nearly 9,000 people in Nepal.
“We need a proper geological investigation as we cannot precisely ascertain whether the recurrence of landslides in Sindhupalchok was due to fragile landmass weakened by the 2015 earthquake and its aftershocks. We have started the study,” Dhakal said.
He added that around 250 settlements were in need of urgent relocation as they are on fragile land, mostly on hill slopes.
The district of Sindhupalchok – one of the worst-hit areas during the 2015 earthquake – is known to experience frequent landslides
On Aug.14, a landslide in Jugal Rural Municipality in Sindhupalchok killed 19 people.
The monsoon season occurs across South Asia from June until September.
According to Nepal Disaster Risk Reduction Portal, since the onset of monsoon until Sep.12, at least 318 people have lost their lives due to landslides, floods and lightning in the Himalayan country.
Moreover, 300 persons have been injured and 84 persons are still missing across the country.
Nepal’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority, based on the water-induced disasters, has claimed that this has been the deadliest monsoon season in more than a decade in the country.
A humanitarian group said in August that South Asia faced a danger of more deadly disease outbreaks due to monsoon floods since health resources have been stretched to breaking point by the coronavirus that has affected over millions of people in the region.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in a statement said floods have affected almost 17.5 million people in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. EFE-EPA