|Shirish B Pradhan,
Kathmandu, May 6 - The death toll in the flash flood near the famous tourist spot of Pokhara in western Nepal has reached 17 while at least 47 people, including two foreigners, are still missing, police said today.
"Altogether 17 dead bodies have been recovered from the accident site as rescue operations continued in the affected areas including Sardi Khola, Mardi Khola and Tatopani villages in Kaski district where dozens of houses and vehicles were swept away," said Superintendent of Police Shailesh Thapa.
"We have rescued eight people from the area and five of them who sustained injuries have been admitted to the hospital," a senior police officer told PTI.
All those killed and rescued were local villagers, he added.
"Forty seven people including two Ukranian tourists have gone missing in the incident," he said.
There were four Ukranian trekkers who were sitting in the bank of Seti river and three of them were swept away, he informed.
"Four houses, 16 huts, four trucks and two buses were swept away by the flash flood triggered by landslide in the mountain area," he 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 GLOF or bursting of the glacial lake as presumed earlier, he 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 said.
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. PTI