KATMANDU, Nepal — The death toll from days of heavy rainfall and flooding in Nepal and India rose to more than 150 on Monday, according to officials in Nepal and India.
At least 105 people were killed in floods in Nepal as of Monday evening, according to the country’s National Emergency Operation Center. More than 100 people are still missing in Nepal, mostly in low-lying areas throughout the country, said Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, a spokesman for the Nepal Ministry of Home Affairs.
More than 11,000 homes have been damaged and roughly 22,000 families displaced in the floods.
Some villagers had climbed to the tops of trees and the roofs of houses before rescue officials, who had been hampered by continuous rain, were able to reach them.
Tej Prasad Poudel, the chief district officer in Bardiya district, where 16 bodies have been found, said that rescue operations first focused on the stranded survivors. “Onwards, rescuers will focus on recovering dead bodies and distributing food and aid for survivors,” he said.
Poudel said that he feared the possibility of an outbreak of cholera in the absence of clean drinking water, and because more decomposing bodies would probably be recovered as relief operations continued.
After days of incessant rains, the government of Nepal asked India on Friday to open the gates of three dams on the Indian side of their shared border, according to a news release from the Indian Embassy in Katmandu. While Dhakal credited this action with providing some relief from the floods, one Indian official said the release of water on Saturday helped cause the fatal flooding in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
Nine districts in eastern Uttar Pradesh were affected by flooding on Saturday and Sunday, with 48 people killed and thousands displaced to temporary camps. Most of the dead were swept away by rains, but six were killed when their boat capsized in Lakhimpur Kheri district.
“Eastern Uttar Pradesh is prone to floods, but this particular case is due to the sudden release of water from Nepal,” said Alok Ranjan, the chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh. He said on Monday that the floods were receding and that the death toll was not likely to rise further.
Floods have plagued both Nepal and India in recent weeks. Earlier this month, 156 people died in floods along the Nepal-China border. Flooding and landslides over the weekend killed 27 people in Uttarakhand state, India, according to local news reports. And two people were killed in flooding in the northern Indian state of Bihar on Sunday, according to the Press Trust of India.
Nepal’s deputy prime minister and home minister, Bam Dev Gautam, said in a television interview on Sunday that continued flooding hampered relief efforts.
“Since the nation faced multiple floods and landslides across the country, the government was in a difficult position to rescue people in time,” he said.