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Floods, landslides triggered by heavy rain kill 47 in Nepal

Nepali residents move their buffalos across a flooded area at Birgunj Parsa district, some 200km south of Kathmandu, on August 13, 2017. The death toll from floods and landslides in Nepal has jumped to at least 40, officials said August 13, with thousands forced to flee their homes amid days of heavy monsoon rain. Torrential downpours have destroyed homes and infrastructure in more than a dozen districts since Friday morning, and forced families to climb into trees to escape the rapidly rising waters. / AFP PHOTO / -

KATHMANDU, Nepal — Landslides and flooding triggered by heavy rain have killed at least 47 people in southern Nepal and left thousands homeless, police said Sunday.

The death toll was expected to go up, with around two dozen other people missing and feared dead after three days of heavy downpours in at least nine southern districts of the Himalayan country, said police spokesman Pushkar Karki.

Around 31,000 families have been displaced by the floods and landslides, which began Friday, he said.

Police said floodwaters toppled telephone towers and power lines, cutting communications and electricity in many areas.

Rescue efforts were hampered by incessant rain and roads that were washed away in many places. Traffic on Nepal’s main East-West highway was stopped after parts of the road and some bridges were severely damaged by the floodwaters.

Teams of soldiers and police officers were working together in the rescue and evacuation efforts, said Ram Krishna Subedi, a home ministry spokesman.

In the eastern city of Biratnagar, the airport was closed after the runway was submerged under more than half a meter (2 feet) of water.

Landslides and flooding are common in the Himalayan region during the monsoon season, which runs from June through September.