Katmandu, Nepal • Nepal on Wednesday ended its search for bodies buried in a massive landslide over the weekend after recovering few of the 156 victims.
“We will not look for any more bodies, instead we will be focusing on helping those people who lost their homes and belongings but survived,” said Gopal Parajuli, the chief government administrator in the area.
All 156 people on the official list are being declared dead. Only 33 bodies have been recovered.
The families of the each of those killed would be given 40,000 rupees ($410) as immediate relief, he said.
The landslide Saturday morning crushed dozens of houses in the village of Mankha, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Katmandu, Nepal’s capital.
The landslide also blocked a mountain river, causing it to back up and form a lake that was threatening to burst and sweep away several villages.
Army engineers used explosives Wednesday to widen the channel where was flowing out of the lake. Villagers in the south have been warned to move to higher grounds in case of flash flood.
Police and soldiers were also attempting to clear Arniko highway, a route that connects Katmandu with northern districts and the border with China. Villagers and tourists have been stranded on the other side since the landslide. Indian pilgrims and a few Western tourists coming in from China have used charter helicopters to fly to Katmandu.
Trucks bringing Chinese goods into Nepal have also been stopped since the weekend.
Landslides are common in the Himalayan nation during the rainy season, which runs from June through September.