Elephants helped rescue hundreds of tourists from a flooded jungle safari park in Nepal, officials said on Monday, as death toll from flash floods and landslides after four days of heavy rain reach 70.
The Rapti River overflowed its banks in Sauraha, 80 km (50 miles) south of the capital, Kathmandu, inundating hotels and restaurants and leaving some 600 tourists stranded.
Sauraha, on the fringe of Chitwan National Park, is home to 605 rhinoceroses and is popular with foreign tourists, including Indian and Chinese visitors, mainly for rhino watching and elephant rides.
“Some 300 guests were rescued on elephant backs and tractor trailers to (nearby) Bharatpur on Sunday and the rest will be taken to safer places today,” Suman Ghimire, Head of a group of Sauraha hotel owners said.
“Floods have also swept the nearby northeast Indian state of Assam in the past two days, killing at least 15 people and displacing nearly 2.3 million.’’
“Nearly 90 per cent of Assam’s Kaziranga National Park, home to the world’s largest population of the endangered one-horned rhinoceros, was under water,” Forest Minister Pramilla Brahma said.
The animals have moved to higher ground.