KHARAPANI, May 6: Four more bodies of the victims of the Saturday´s flashflood in Seti River have been recovered Sunday, taking the death toll to 17, while at least 47 persons are said to be still missing.
Kaski Police said four more bodies were recovered and that at least 47 persons were still missing. Locals, however, maintain that the number of missing could be as high as 100.
A total of 536 security personnel including 138 NA soldiers, 158 from Nepal Police and 214 from Armed Police Force (APF) have been mobilized for the rescue efforts. The rescue teams have been staying near the river in temporary shelters since Saturday night.
The flashflood occurred after the blockade created by landslides a few days ago along the river´s normal course burst at an altitude of around at 4,600 meters in the Annapurna mountain region of Machhapuchchhre Village Development Committee (VDC) Saturday morning, according to Nepal Army (NA).
The flashflood swept away entire Kharapani Bazar, situated north of Pokhara, taking away locals, revelers, tourists visiting Tatopani springs and labors collecting stones from the river banks.
Police said the flood carried with it 20 houses, two temples, three suspension bridges, seven tractors, three mini trucks and one motorcycle.
Only 12 of the 17 bodies found so far have been identified with eight of them men and four women. The dead who have been identified are Gopal Tamrakar, 70, of Kharapani, Archana Shrestha, 19, a resident of Bagale Tole, Pokhara-8 and student at La-Grandi College, Purna Shobha Gurung, 28, of Shardikhola, Min Bahadur Bhujel, 65, of Shardikhola-7, Anil BK, 14, of Sardikhola-1, Junga Bahadur Magar, 74, Tirtha Kumar Chhantyal, 27, Dal Bahadur Pun, and Hari Kala Chhantyal, 62, of Lekhnath-13, Prem Ghale Gurung of Gorkha currently staying at Sardikhola, Anil Gurung of Sardikhola-1 and Kunja Tamang of Pokhara-1, Simpana.
The security persons are still searching for the missing persons including three Ukrainian tourists.
PM disappointed with the rescue work
Prime Minister Babu Ram Bhattarai on Sunday expressed his deep displeasure over the pace of relief and rescue efforts along Seti River in Kaski district which was hit by flash floods on Sunday, killing at least 15 people with dozens more believed missing.
The government meanwhile, announced Rs. 100,000 aid to those who lost their family members or their homes. The families will be given Rs. 25,000 immediately to conduct funeral rites and additional Rs. 25,000 would be made available to those who have lost their homes in the flood.
"Immediately after the incident, I directed concerned authorities to start rescue and relief efforts at full swing, but today I see very little has been done," Bhattarai said after an aerial and land survey of Kharapani, one of the worst hit areas.
Bhattarai asked Kaski´s Chief District Officer (CDO) Chet Nath Bhattarai to mobilize all resources in the district and ask help from the centre if the local resources were insufficient. He also directed officials to put into operation 18 to 20 excavators to search for the missing.
A day after the incident, the exact number of missing is yet to be ascertained. Flood victims in Sardikhola and Machhapuchhre VDC have not received aid and transportation remains disrupted as the flood swept away roads and bridges.