Nepal landslide toll climbs to 35 as more bodies recovered

KATHMANDU (AFP) - Rescuers on Friday recovered 14 more bodies following a landslide triggered by heavy rains in northeast Nepal, taking the confirmed death toll to 35.

Up to 20 people are still missing after the landslide, which crushed villages in mountainous Taplejung district Thursday following incessant rains.

"The toll has reached 35, but we believe another 20 might be missing," district deputy superintendent of police Shanti Raj Koirala told AFP.

Rescuers struggled to reach affected villages in mountainous Taplejung district after the landslides, which hit just weeks after twin quakes killed 8,700 people, damaged roads and bridges, and swept away houses.

An army helicopter had airlifted eight injured villagers to a local hospital on Thursday, but was unable to fly in today because of continuing heavy rains.

"Condolences to the family of deceased in Taplejung landslide. Wish speedy recovery of injured. Have asked for prompt recovery and relief," Nepal's prime minister Sushil Koirala tweeted on Thursday.

His scheduled visit to Taplejung on Friday was also cancelled because of weather.

Scores of people die every year from flooding and landslides during the monsoon season in Nepal.

Taplejung escaped serious damage in the April 25 and May 12 earthquakes, which triggered landslides and destroyed half a million homes, leaving thousands without shelter just weeks ahead of monsoon rains.

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