With the start of the annual monsoon season, these two Himalayan countries have been hit by heavy rains in the past three days.
According to the authorities, flash floods caused by monsoon rains destroyed a remote mountain camp in Bhutan, causing 10 deaths and 5 injuries, while floods in neighbouring Nepal caused at least 3 deaths and 7 missing.
Bhutanese villagers who have been collecting Cordyceps (a fungus used for medicinal purposes) were sleeping when the flood hit after midnight.
According to local media reports, they were washed away from the camp near Raya, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of the capital Thimphu.
Bhutan’s Prime Minister Lothai Sherin said in a statement: “Today, our hearts are with the people of Raya, because we heard the tragedy of attacking a group of cordyceps collectors on the high ground.”
Two helicopters were dispatched to evacuate the wounded and rescuers, and the armed forces were heading to the scene that could only be reached after an 11-hour walk from the nearest road.
Villagers in Bhutan and neighbouring Nepal go to high meadows to collect Cordyceps sinensis, which is considered to have potential health benefits.
The Bhutanese newspaper said that the villagers were camping by a stream between two hills.
“It is believed that they were washed away by the downstream flood,” it said.
Three dead in Nepal, seven missing
In Nepal, police spokesman Basanta Bahadur Kunwar said that the rescue team had found three bodies-two in western Nepal and one in the middle of the country.
“Security forces have been working with locals to rescue affected families and relocate to safer places,” Kunwar told DPA news agency.
Interior Ministry official Dil Kumar Tamang said that after overnight rains in the Sintubalchak district bordering China’s Tibet region, seven people were missing, triggering a flash flood on the Melamchi River and flooding dozens of houses.
“We are collecting detailed information about the loss,” Taman told Reuters.
Witnesses said that several people in Melamchi moved to a higher place with their belongings, while military helicopters were rescuing people trapped in the house.
The authorities urge people living along the Narayani River that flows into India as Gandak to be vigilant when the river exceeds the danger mark.
More than three days of rain caused the water level of the Melamchi River to rise, and destroyed several houses and damaged bridges and road infrastructure in two cities in the northeast of Kathmandu.
“We cannot understand the true extent of the damage,” Khanal told DPA.
As the annual monsoon season began, Nepal and Bhutan suffered heavy rains in the past three days. The two countries have many mountains and rivers, and monsoon disasters occur frequently.