Katmandu: There is no chance of finding any of the more than 150 people who are believed to have been buried by a massive landslide in northern Nepal, an official said today as rescuers struggled to dig through piles of rock, mud and trees.
Rescuers have so far recovered only eight bodies since the landslide early yesterday blocked a mountain river, causing the water to form a lake that was threatening to burst and sweep several villages. Fresh rainfall today hampered search attempts.
"We have no chance of finding any of the missing people alive under this pile of debris," said Yadav Prasad Koirala, who heads the government`s Department of Natural Disaster Management. "We have names of 159 people who are believed to be missing and buried, but there could be even more people."
Koirala said it was even difficult for bulldozers and heavy equipment to move the debris that crushed dozens of houses in the village of Mankha, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Katmandu, Nepal`s capital.
Gopal Parajuli, the chief government administrator in the area, said the water level and mud were making the rescue work very difficult, and that army troops used explosives to try to alleviate a dangerous buildup of water.