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Nepal devastating snowstorm disasters toll climbs to 391

Nepal devastating snowstorm disasters toll climbs to 391
The death toll in one the most devastating snowstorm disasters to hit Nepal's Himalayan mountain range climbed to 39 after two more bodies, including that of an Indian, were found today.
Officials said two more bodies have been found today, bringing the death toll to 39, with fears abound that more could be lying under heavy snowdrifts and ice.
Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) general secretary Sagar Pandey said that the bodies -- a Japanese national and an Indian male tourist identified as Arup Roy Chaudhary, 42 -- were recovered from Thorong La Pass in Mustang district.
Four Indians have been killed in the snowstorm so far. Authorities have rescued 11 Indians. They are identified as: Subhomoy Ghosh, Ranajit Dutta, Partho Banerjee, Ramchandra Mitra, Govinda Mandal, Kunal Bhattacharya, Debashish Biswas, Subrata Dutta, Subrata Das, Sumit Mukherjee and Sowrabha V Besur.
All except Sowraba, who is from Bangalore, are from West Bengal, according to Indian Embassy sources. While three Indians are believed to still missing.
The focus of the search-and-rescue operation has now shifted to the grim prospect of retrieving bodies. Pandey said the operation will continue tomorrow on the popular trekking route, which goes as high as 5,416 metres.
Nepalese army choppers today continued their sorties to locate stranded persons. Four persons -- three Swiss nationals and a Nepali trekking guide -- were rescued today from Dolpa region, the famous tourist spot in northern Nepal.
Dolpa district is next to Manang and Mustang districts in the popular Annapurna mountain range trekking trail where most of the trekkers and Nepalese guides were killed in the snowstorm this week. Thousands of people head to the Annapurna mountain range every October, when weather conditions are usually favourable.
However, the region has been hit by unusually heavy snowfall this week triggered by Cyclone Hudhud, which slammed into India's east coast last weekend.
Pandey said that most of the stranded trekkers have been rescued and brought to safer places. But he conformed that still some 30 to 40 people were out of contact in Mustang district.
So far 350 people, 150 from Mustang and 200 from Manang, were rescued during the past four days by Nepal Army and Nepal Police personnel in coordination with local guides and TAAN. With the snow now melting, the search and rescue operation is likely to pick up speed.
Meanwhile, TAAN has halted issuing permits for trekkers to visit Thorang La Pass so as not to hamper the rescue work in the region. (PTI)

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