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 / Updated  / Source: Reuters
By Reuters

LUMLE, Nepal — Landslides triggered by torrential rain swept through villages on Thursday, killing at least 30 people close to Nepal's most popular trekking circuit, officials said.

The landslides struck near the resort town of Pokhara, 77 miles west of Kathmandu shortly after midnight.

Rescue team members search for landslide victims in Lumle, Nepal, on Thursday.NAVESH CHITRAKAR / Reuters

In the village of Lumle about half of the homes were buried or destroyed by a torrent of mud and rocks.

"I heard a big demonic sound, I thought it was an earthquake," said Kabi Ram B.K., a 64-year-old farmer, whose daughter and granddaughter were killed when the landslide smashed into their home.

Soldiers and policemen, working in heavy rain, used shovels and food bowls to search for nine missing villagers because they did not have any mechanical gear to help with the rescue.

What Causes Landslides?

Dec. 16, 201400:43

Lumle is about 9 miles from the start of the Annapurna Circuit, a hiking route around the world's 10th tallest mountain that attracts around 100,000 tourists a year.

Two powerful earthquakes in Nepal this year that killed almost 9,000 people have raised the risk of landslides across the mountainous country during the rainy season, which lasts from June to September.