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Nepal flash flood kills at least 17

Rescuers searching through mud and debris for flash-flood victims in northwestern Nepal had found 17 bodies by Monday, police said.
Nepalese rescuers search for flood victims near Kharapani, a village about 200 kilometres west of Kathmandu, the capital, on Sunday. (Niranjan Shrestha/Associated Press)

Rescuers searching through mud and debris for flash-flood victims in northwestern Nepal had found 17 bodies by Monday, police said. Another 47 people, including three Ukrainian tourists, were missing and presumed dead.   

Houses, farms, trucks and trailers were swept away when the Seti River, held back by an avalanche, burst through the snow blockage and sent water thundering through villages along its banks. The flooding came with little warning Saturday, a day when villagers traditionally wash clothes and bathe in the Seti and picnic with family and friends along the river.   

Police official Shailesh Thapa, who is co-ordinating recovery efforts, said soldiers and police were working with villagers, wading through the muddy areas to search for bodies. Excavators were being used in the recovery work.   

At least one bridge was damaged by the flooding about 200 kilometres northwest of capital, Kathmandu.   

Three of the missing are Ukrainian tourists, police said. They identified them as Oleksandr Dubinskiy, Ivan Malaknov and Alla Polonchuk.   

Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai flew to the area on Sunday and told the villagers the government had given top priority to the rescue and recovery. He also announced that the families of those killed would get 100,000 rupees ($1,160 US) as immediate relief, and those who have lost their homes would receive 25,000 rupees ($300).

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