NEPAL. Kathmandu: Two Himalayan nations, Nepal, and Bhutan are bearing the brunt of heavy monsoon rains for the last three days. The flash floods as a result of these rains have washed away a remote mountain camp in Bhutan, and in neighbouring Nepal, it has left at least seven dead and several missing, authorities said. As a result of the rains, the Melamchi River in the area has risen above danger levels, and has swept away several houses and damaged bridges and road infrastructure in Sindhupalchowk district, confirmed the District Administration Office. Monsoon-induced disasters are common in the two nations owing to their mountainous topography and big rivers.
Sindhupalchowk District 64 km by road from Kathmandu is a part of Bagmati Province and is renowned around the world for adventure sports such as rafting, canyoning, and bungee jumping. But lately, a lot of large-scale hydropower projects in the rivers are causing ecological disasters in the area.
Nepal Home Ministry official Dil Kumar Tamang said seven people were dead and several missing after overnight rains in Sindhupalchowk district triggered flash floods in the Melamchi river inundating dozens of homes.
A remote mountain camp in Bhutan was also washed away killing 10 people and injuring five. The Bhutan villagers, who had been collecting cordeyceps, a fungus used in medicine, were taking rest in a camp near Laya, about 60 km (37 miles) north of Bhutan’s capital Thimphu, when the floodwaters hit just after midnight. It should be noted here that locals near Thimpu and neighbouring Nepal go to high meadows every year to collect cordeycep.
“Our hearts are with the people of Laya today, as we hear about the tragedy that struck a group of cordyceps collectors in the highland,” Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering said in a statement.
Two helicopters have been mobilised to evacuate the injured and rescuers, and the armed forces were also heading to the site which can only be reached after 11 hours of walking from the nearest road.
In Nepal, police spokesman Basanta Bahadur Kunwar said that rescue teams have recovered three bodies – two in western Nepal and one in the country’s center. “Security forces have been working with locals to rescue affected households and relocate to safer places,” Kunwar told DPA news agency.
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