Flood victims stand near a house in Saptari District, Nepal, Aug. 14, 2017. Reuters

As heavy rains battered Nepal Monday, elephants saved more than 500 people trapped by flooding. Landslides and flash flooding from the Rapti River in Sauraha, about 50 miles south of Kathmandu, left hundreds of people stranded before the region's elephants came to the rescue.

Sauraha borders Chitwan National Park, a hot spot for tourists seeking elephant rides, rhinoceros watching and other attractions. Packed hotels in the area were submerged by the flooding, trapping hundreds of tourists. Elephants were deployed to get people to safety, including to the nearest roads and the local airport.

"Guests were rescued on elephant backs and tractor trailers to [nearby] Bharatpur yesterday," Suman Ghimire, the head of a group of Sauraha hotel owners, told Reuters Monday. "The rest will be taken to safer places today."

Flood victims stand near a house in Saptari District, Nepal, Aug. 14, 2017. Reuters

The rains are a product of monsoon season, which began in June and should end in September. Nepal is hit with heavy flooding each year during the season. This year's flooding knocked out power and electricity in numerous areas, according to the Red Cross. Twenty-six of Nepal's 75 districts were underwater or had been hit by landslides Monday, Reuters reported. At least 15 people were killed due to the recent flooding, while almost 2.3 million were displaced. Officials said they expected the death toll to go up as an additional 50 people remained missing Monday.

"The situation is worrying as tens of thousands of people have been hit," information and communications minister Mohan Bahadur Basnet told Reuters.

At least 60,000 homes were completely underwater, Basnet confirmed. Many of those homes provided necessary crops for the Nepal and elsewhere. The mass flooding of such farmland could have catastrophic impacts on food supply in the region, according to aid workers.

"The heavy rains hit at one of the worst times," said Sumnima Shrestha, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit organization Heifer International. "Shortly after the farmers planted their rice crop in the country's most important agricultural region."

Photos from the area showed flood-ravaged roads covered by water and debris from landslides. Chief district officer of Chitwan Narayan Prasad Bhatta said workers were doing everything they could to help those affected.

"We are mobilizing all the resources we have," he told BBC News, "to ensure that everyone is safe."

A buffalo grazes along the flood affected area in Saptari District, Nepal Aug. 14, 2017. Reuters