No less than 54 persons have been killed over the last two days in Nepal after a heavy flood and landslides were triggered by monsoon rains, an official said on Wednesday.
The Nepalese Home Ministry spokesperson Yadav Prasad Koirala disclosed that at least 20 people are still missing with the death toll likely to rise.
In an attempt to save those still trapped in the incident, the government launched a rescue and relief operations in 14 of Nepal’s 75 districts that have been affected by the floods.
Koirala said the situation was serious in eight districts, and that road links to some areas were cut by the flooding.
It was learnt that the heaviest casualties occurred in the Pyuthan district in central Nepal, where 15 bodies were recovered from areas affected by landslides.
In the Palpa district three members of the same family were killed by a landslide and in the Jhapa district in eastern Nepal, five people were killed when they drowned in a flooded river.
The most recent death was that of an infant who was buried by a landslide in the Myagdi district on Tuesday.
Hundreds of people have been displaced after swollen rivers breached their banks and flooded homes.
Soldiers and volunteers used rubber boats to rescue people marooned by the flooding, while helicopters were being used to drop food supplies.
Water levels in some of the major rivers were close to dangerous levels, posing a threat of massive flooding and causing panic among the local population.
Tens of thousands of Nepalese are still living in tents following a set of devastating earthquakes that hit the Himalayan country last year.