Monsoon flash floods and landslides kill many in Bhutan, Nepal | Weather News

Both Himalayan nations have been hit by heavy rains over the past three days as the annual monsoon season begins.

Flash floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains swept away an isolated mountain camp in Bhutan, killing 10 and injuring five, while flooding in neighboring Nepal left at least three dead and seven missing, authorities said.

Villagers in Bhutan, who were collecting cordyceps, a fungus used in medicine, were sleeping when floodwaters hit just after midnight.

Their camp near Laya, about 60 km (37 miles) north of the capital, Thimphu, was swept away, local media reported.

“Our hearts are with the people of Laya today as we hear about the tragedy that has befallen a group of cordyceps collectors in the highlands,” Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering said in a statement.

Two helicopters were mobilized to evacuate the wounded and rescuers, and the armed forces were heading towards the site which is only accessible after an 11-hour walk from the nearest road.

Villagers in Bhutan and neighboring Nepal travel to the high grasslands every year to harvest cordyceps that are believed to have potential health benefits.

The villagers were camping at the edge of a small stream between two small hills, The Bhoutanese newspaper said.

“It is believed that they were washed away by the tide that came down the stream,” he said.

A Nepalese army helicopter flies over flash flood-struck houses along the bank of the Melamchi River during a rescue mission in Sindhupalchowk, Nepal [Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters]

Nepal: three dead and seven missing

In Nepal, police spokesman Basanta Bahadur Kunwar said rescue teams recovered three bodies – two in western Nepal and one in the center of the country.

“Security forces have worked with residents to rescue affected households and move them to safer places,” Kunwar told the DPA news agency.

Interior Ministry official Dil Kumar Tamang said seven people were missing after overnight rains in Sindhupalchowk district, which borders China’s Tibet region, triggered flash floods in the Melamchi River. flooding dozens of houses.

“We are collecting details of the losses,” Tamang told Reuters news agency.

Witnesses said several people in Melamchi moved to higher grounds with their belongings as army helicopters rescued those trapped in abandoned houses.

Authorities urged people living along the Narayani River, which flows into India as Gandak, to remain vigilant as the river flows above the danger mark.

More than three days of rain pushed up the Melamchi River, washing away several houses and damaging bridges and road infrastructure in two municipalities northeast of Kathmandu.

“We have not been able to access the true extent of the damage,” Khanal told the DPA.

Nepal and Bhutan have been hit by heavy rains over the past three days as the annual monsoon begins. Monsoon-induced disasters are common in both countries due to their mountainous topography and large rivers.

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