Kathmandu (The Kathmandu Post/ANN) - The death toll in Saturday's flashflood on the Seti river in Kaski district in western Nepal has gone up to 17, while the number of those missing has risen to 47.
Authorities on Sunday identified 12 of the 17 bodies and handed them over to their families. Police said the identified ones are Archana Shrestha, Kunja Tamang, Gopal Tamrakar, Purnashova Gurung, Min Bahadur Bhujel, Anil BK, Umamaya Tamang, Prem Ghale Gurung, Jung Bahadur Magar, Tirthakumari Chhantyal, Dal Bahadur Pun and Harikala Chhantyal.
The number of the missing was determined according to complaints filed by family members. Three Ukrainians-Oleksandr Dubinskiy, Alla Polonchuk and Ivan Malaknov-are among the missing.
A joint team of the Nepal Army, the Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force is carrying out a search operation in the flood-hit areas. The team rescued three persons-Bibek Acharya, Dipendra Hamal and Raj Ghale-on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai inspected the flood-affected areas and directed the local administration to carry out rescue and relief work without any delay. The government's priority right now is to search for the missing ones, he said.
The PM also announced a relief package of 100,000 rupees (US$1,118) each to families of those killed and 25,000 rupees ($297) each to those rendered homeless. He also pledged a funeral fund of 25,000 rupees ($297) each to the bereaved families and said the government would foot the medical bills of the injured.
A flash flood triggered by a landslide near the Machhapuchhre mountain wreaked havoc, killing people and destroying property. The Seti river swept away dozens of houses, three suspension bridges and 11 vehicles. Road access and electricity in many villages, including Mirsa, Abang, Sadal and Bharabhuri, have been cut off in the wake of the disaster.
Chief District Officer of Kaski Chetnath Bhattarai said offices rendering essential services like drinking water, health and electricity have been asked to resume the services at the earliest.
Meanwhile, the water level in the Seti river rose yesterday afternoon. After Saturday's flash flood, the river resembled a placid swamp. The river picked momentum at around noon on Sunday with the increase in the water level as much as by 50 per cent, said Jagannath Adhikari, the secretary of the Sardikhola VDC. Police Inspector Rabindra Poudel said the rise in the water level, however, did not pose any danger.
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