Landslides and flooding triggered by heavy rain have killed at least 47 people in southern Nepal and left thousands homeless, police said Sunday.

The death toll was expected to go up, with around two dozen other people missing and feared dead after three days of heavy downpours in at least nine southern districts of the Himalayan country, said police spokesman Pushkar Karki.

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An aircraft is seen parked on the flooded apron of Biratnagar’s domestic airport after heavy rains in Biratnagar, 240 kilometres from Nepal’s capital Kathmandu on Saturday. (AFP/Getty Images)

Around 31,000 families have been displaced by the floods and landslides, which began Friday, he said.

Police said floodwaters toppled telephone towers and power lines, cutting communications and electricity in many areas.

Rescue efforts were hampered by incessant rain and roads that were washed away in many places. Traffic on Nepal’s main East-West highway was stopped after parts of the road and some bridges were severely damaged by the floodwaters.

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Flooding also hit in Patan, on outskirts of Kathmandu, after days of heavy monsoon rain. (Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images)

Teams of soldiers and police officers were working together in the rescue and evacuation efforts, said Ram Krishna Subedi, a home ministry spokesman.

In the eastern city of Biratnagar, the airport was closed after the runway was submerged under more than half a metre of water.

Landslides and flooding are common in the Himalayan region during the monsoon season, which runs from June through September.

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