Weeks after twin earthquakes claimed over 8,000 lives, Nepal yet again faced another natural disaster. Heavy rains earlier this week have triggered landslides in Nepal’s mountainous northeast. Various reports place the fatality count anywhere from 21 to 55.
The mudslide swept six villages in Taplejung district. Forty-one people were instantly killed. Authorities believed the number could rise because many are still missing. Only 21 bodies so far have been recovered from the site. Surendra Bhattarai, a senior official in the district of Taplejung, said three have been identified.
The landslide occurred during the night when most people were asleep, the Associated Press reports. Taplejung district is located 500 kilometers (310 miles) east of Kathmandu, the nation’s capital,
The district doesn’t host any government office or police station. Home Ministry official Laxmi Dhakal who is in Kathmandu said search and rescue personnel are trying their best to get to the scene despite rains and heavy fog.
“We are trying to arrange helicopters for rescue operations,” Bhattarai said.
Nepal is used to experiencing landslides. They usually occur between June to September, considering the rainy monsoon season. Just in August 2014, a landslide washed away a section of Araniko Highway at the Nepal and China border. The incident killed over 30 people.
Nepal authorities are concerned the coming rainy monsoon season could produce particularly destructive, if not fatal, landslides since they come weeks after the massive April 2015 tremor which has left most of Nepal’s terrain sensitive and unstable.
A report by Times of India states Nepal continues to experience aftershocks. At 10:02 a.m. on Friday, a 4.6-magnitude aftershock was recorded with the epicenter found at the Sindhupalchowk district near the Tibetan border. Another happened at 12:26 a.m. at 4.1 magnitude. The National Seismological Center Its epicenter was at Dolakha district.