Kathmandu: Nearly 64 people are feared dead even as the death toll in the flash flood near the famous tourist spot of Pokhara in western Nepal reached 17 on Sunday with at least 47 people, including three foreigners, still missing despite massive rescue operations by security forces.
"We have so far recovered dead bodies of 17 people from the site and there is very slim chances of getting alive 47 people including three Ukranian tourists who went missing," Superintendent of Police Shailesh Thapa told PTI.
The flash flood had swept away parts of a village including 20 houses, buses and suspension bridges.
The security forces have rescued eight local people from the site. Five of the rescued people who sustained injuries were admitted to the local hospital for treatment, the senior police officer said.
"Three excavators have also been mobilised to carry out rescue works. The search operations were completed for today and we will resume the rescue operations on Monday," he said.
All those killed and rescued were local villagers, he added.
There were four Ukranian trekkers who were sitting in the bank of Seti river and three of them were swept away, Thapa informed. "Four houses, 16 huts, four trucks and two buses were
swept away by the flash flood triggered by landslide in the mountain area," Thapa said adding "most part of the Sardikhola market was swept away in the incident."
The incident site is 20 km north of Pokhara, the famous tourist spot. In fact, the incident was not related to glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) as presumed earlier, Thapa said.
"The starting point of Seti river, which flows hundreds of feet beneath the ground across Pokhara valley, was blocked few days ago due to the landslide and the water which got accumulated there suddenly flushed out after it got filled causing flash flood in the area," he added.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bijaya Gachhadar visited the affected area for on the spot inspection and ordered to speed up the rescue operations.
The Prime Minister also announced Nepali Rupees 125,000 relief package for the family members of those killed in the incident and Nepali Rupees 25,000 for those whose houses were swept away.
The government has mobilised over 150 security personnel for carrying out rescue operations and an army helicopter was also used for ferrying security men.