Annual south Asian rains trigger deadly landslides in India, Nepal – UN reports

Photo: UNOCHA

4 August 2014 – A massive landslide in Nepal in the early hours of Saturday, triggered by continuous monsoon rains, caused 10 deaths, displaced 5,000 families and destroyed dozens of houses, the United Nations said today.

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, (OCHA), the massive landslide occurred in the middle of the night when most people were sleeping in their homes and authorities fear that the death toll could climb above 150 people.

The landslide has also blocked the Sunkoshi River and forming a lake which is threatening to cause downstream flash floods.

Governments in both Nepal and India are evacuating thousands of people along the river embankment. Meanwhile, responders are struggling to secure a controlled release of the water with continuous rain hampering access to the affected area.

The annual South Asian rains also triggered a landslide on 30 July in western India which killed 107 people, including 44 men, 48 women and 15 children, according to media sources. More than 60 people are still missing and feared dead.

The Government of India has led the response. Around 350 personnel form the National Disaster Response Force are working to clear the debris and recover bodies. Their work is hampered by continued heavy rain. OCHA's regional office in Bangkok has been in close contact with authorities.

The Government-led response, including search-and-rescue operations, has been ongoing for more than five days, where an additional 60 people are believed to be trapped. Around 350 personnel from the Indian National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are working to clear the debris and recover bodies.

In Nepal, the Government is leading the response, with support from India and OCHA. The National Emergency Operations Centre has asked for health, food, and shelter support in the most affected districts. Meanwhile, the UN Resident Coordinator is working with aid agencies to respond to Nepalese authorities' request for support in areas including food, shelter and water.


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