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Over 100 Missing in Nepal Landslides - 2002-07-16

In Nepal, rescue teams are searching for more than a 100 people missing after massive landslides struck two villages in the east of the country. Authorities say 24 bodies have been found so far, and at least a dozen survivors have been located.

Search and rescue work continued for a second day to locate dozens of people feared buried under landslides that swept through two remote villages in Khotang district, more than 200 kilometers east of the capital, Kathmandu.

Officials say at least 150 homes in Dipsung and Sikundel villages collapsed under torrents of mud early Monday, while villagers were asleep. Many of those missing are women and children.

An army spokesman said several survivors were pulled out alive from under the debris Tuesday. They have been taken to hospitals in Kathmandu.

Officials say heavy rains are hampering search operations. Telecommunication links in the region remain disrupted, making it difficult to get accurate information.

The landslides were triggered by heavy monsoon rains that have been lashing the region in the last week.

The region is extremely remote. Rescue teams only reached the area many hours after the disaster struck, both due to the bad weather, and lack of good roads in the area.

Monday's disaster is the worst to hit Nepal since the monsoon season began in June. During this season, the country's mountainous terrain makes it vulnerable to landslides and flash floods, which claim hundreds of victims every year. Nepal is one of the world's poorest countries.