Landslides triggered by torrential rain in Nepal have swept through villages, killing at least 30 people close to the nation’s most popular trekking circuit, home ministry officials have said.
The landslides struck the villages near the resort town of Pokhara, 125 kilometres west of Kathmandu, shortly after midnight on Thursday.
In the village of Lumle about half of the homes were buried or destroyed by a torrent of mud and rocks.
“I heard a big demonic sound, I thought it was an earthquake,” said Kabi Ram BK, a 64-year-old farmer whose daughter and granddaughter were killed when the landslide smashed into their home.
Soldiers and policemen, working in heavy rain, used shovels to search missing villagers.
“Over 200 of our personnel are still working at the site to search and rescue,” Kaski police chief Kedar Rajaure said.
At least 13 bodies have been recovered from the village.
Lumle is about 15 kilometres from the start of the Annapurna Circuit, a hiking route around the world’s 10th tallest mountain that attracts about 100,000 tourists a year.
Two powerful earthquakes in Nepal this year that killed almost 9,000 people have raised the risk of landslides across the mountainous country during the rainy season, which lasts from June to September.
Heavy monsoon rains have also caused flooding and fatalities across northern India in recent days.