KATHMANDU — A massive landslide triggered by heavy rains in northeast Nepal on Saturday has killed at least eight people, injured 40, and buried dozens of homes, officials said. Home ministry officials said eight bodies have been recovered so far from the debris of collapsed houses and search and rescue operations were under way, with more casualties possible. Army helicopters have taken seven injured, including a Belgian national, for treatment in Kathmandu, an army spokesman said.
The landslide created a mud dam blocking the Sunkoshi river near Jure in the Sindhupalchowk district, about 37 miles northeast of Kathmandu, heightening fears of downstream floods. Soldiers have started opening the dam by setting off two controlled blasts to release water. A home ministry official said the foreign ministry had been asked to request neighbors China and India to help open the dam in a controlled way. Monsoon rains start in mid-June and continue through September. Heavy rains in June last year caused rivers and lakes to burst their banks, inundating towns and villages and killing thousands in India and dozens in west Nepal.