The seasonal floodwaters destroyed thousands of homes and inundated tens of thousands of houses in the densely populated southern plains bordering India, the country’s home minister told parliament.

Since last week, the floods have also destroyed bridges, telephone towers and other pieces of infrastructure across the flatland, home to nearly half of the country’s 25 million people.

“I accept that relief distribution has been slow, but let me tell you that in some places, we even didn’t have any dry land to stock relief materials,” said Janardan Sharma.

He said the government has announced a financial aid of 200,000 Nepali rupees ($1,949) for the families of the victims.

The government has revised the number of affected districts to 36, nearly half of Nepal’s 75 districts. The worst-hit districts lie in the country’s eastern and central regions.

Sharma said the ministry has been operating rescue missions from three towns, with a dozen helicopters on standby for delivery of aids.

A statement issued by the ministry on Tuesday claimed that more than 4,000 people were evacuated to shelters, but media reports detailed hundreds of communities were still waiting for relief.

“[Security forces] haven’t been able to reach many affected areas as roadways are severely damaged,” Record Nepal, an online medium, reported from a flood-hit area of Banke district.

“The home minister carried out air surveillance yesterday. Apart from that no relief from government has arrived,” it added.

Meanwhile, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, who is in Kathmandu on a four-day trip, announced an aid of $1 million for the flood victims.

The government has deployed 26,000 emergency workers including health officials and security forces in the areas affected by the floods.

The natural disaster-prone country faces death and destruction every year during monsoon season, which runs between June and September.

Anadolu Agency