Almost 600 tourists, including 200 Indians, have been stranded in central Nepal's popular tourist district Chitwan due to flooding triggered by heavy rains that have claimed 49 lives, officials said today. The water level in the Saptakosi River has exceeded the danger mark.
The disaster has mostly affected the southern Teraian plains area where, according to government data, around 40,000 houses were badly affected.
Ten more people were missing and the death toll looked set to climb as large parts of the country were under water, the officials said.
Similarly, seven persons died in Rautahat floods and landslides, two in Bardiya, one in Dhanusha, Makawanpur, Kailai and Palpa districts each.
Highways were either damaged or inundated, disrupting transport, the police said.
Security agencies, including Nepal Police, the army and Armed Police Force, have been mobilised in the southern Terai districts for the relief and rescue operations.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism has been asked to operate private helicopters with priority in helping rescue operation.
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.
Of the 600 tourists stranded in the Chitwan Valley, almost 200 were from India and about the same number from other countries.
In the eastern city of Biratnagar, the airport was closed after the runway was submerged under more than half a meter (2 feet) of water. 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.