Nearly 180 people have died in Nepal and northern India, and over 130 are missing following floods and landslides caused by days of torrential rains in the last week, Associated Press, or AP, reported Monday.
Nearly 10 districts in Nepal and over 1,500 villages in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Bihar have been affected by the floods that have left thousands of people homeless and raised the risk of water-borne diseases. Authorities in Nepal and India expressed fears that lack of drinking water, food and sanitation facilities could lead to an outbreak of cholera, dysentery and encephalitis, which could kill hundreds more, AP reported.
“We are concerned about a possible outbreak of cholera because of all the dead bodies and livestock lying underwater,” Nepal’s home ministry spokesperson Laxmi Prasad Dhakal reportedly said. “We are on alert to make sure people don't consume contaminated water, now or after they return to their homes over the coming week.”
Jhanka Nath Dhakal, chairperson of Nepal's National Emergency Operation Centre, told AP that four helicopters with food, emergency supplies, medicine and medical workers had been sent to villages in the west of the country. He added that attempts by rescue workers to reach affected villages by road had not been successful as most rural roads and highways were either submerged or damaged.
In India, Home Minister Rajnath Singh told reporters on Sunday that 18 teams of the National Disaster Response Force and six army helicopters had been deployed to rescue stranded people in the flood-affected states.
A senior official at India’s meteorological department told The Wall Street Journal that though the weather system that brought the rains was receding, rainfall was likely to continue for another week, raising fears of further flooding.