KATHMANDU • Monsoon floods and landslides have killed at least 66 people across Nepal and India, but officials fear that figure could almost double as rescuers search for dozens believed lost under the mud and in submerged villages.
The authorities yesterday upgraded the death toll from flash flooding across landlocked Nepal to 49 as thousands fled for higher ground.
"Another 17 are missing. Search and rescue works are under way but the water levels have not declined yet," said Mr Shankar Hari Acharya, the chief of Nepal's national emergency centre.
The Red Cross estimated a higher death toll of 53, with dozens more missing and injured, and thousands of homes destroyed.
In neighbouring India, rescuers were desperately trying to reach two packed buses swept into a gorge by a landslide.
Seventeen bodies have been recovered from the accident site in the Himalayan state, but dozens were still missing somewhere at the bottom of the ravine.
"Around 200m of national highway washed away with two buses and more than 50 are feared buried," said Indian army spokesman Aman Anand, who was helping coordinate rescue efforts.