BBCI: Nepal floods: Elephants deployed in rescue efforts

Nepal floods: 36 killed, 12 missing, hundreds displaced due to landslides, torrential rain

At least thirty deaths were reported until Saturday night which, until Sunday afternoon, climbed to 49.

"Another 17 are missing".

Five thousand and six hundred trained personnel of the Nepal Police, one thousand 700 APF personnel, and 8,300 Nepalese Army personnel, as well as helicopters, have been mobilized for search and rescue operation, the Ministry has stated.

The coaches had stopped for a tea break around midnight Saturday in Himachal Pradesh when tonnes of rock and mud cascaded down a mountainside. Dozens more are missing or injured.

A hotel owner said they used elephants to transport tourists to the nearest open highway and airport to help them return to the capital Kathmandu. The rain is expected to continue in the coming days according to the Nepal Meteorological Forecasting Division, raising fears that the rivers will threaten to wash more villages away. Monsoon rains from June to September are important for farm-dependent Nepal, but they also cause havoc each year.

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Last weekend in the central lowlands, four girls from the same family drowned when they fell into a flooded roadside ditch.

Footage aired on Nepali broadcasters showed villagers wading through waist-high water with their belongings and using boats to reach higher ground.

The floods and landslides have claimed at least 53 lives over the past three days, in the Terai region bordering India and other areas of Nepal, according to the Government of Nepal.

Meanwhile, Nepal Cabinet held an emergency meeting during which Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba ordered the local district administrations to intensify the rescue and release activities.

Biratnagar airport in the eastern district of Morang was closed after being submerged in a metre of water, authorities at the global terminal said.

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