At least 39 people have died and 18 others are missing after landslides in Nepal caused by heavy monsoon rains in the mountainous country, an emergency management official told Efe on Thursday.

All the fatalities have occurred in the western part of the country and the great majority of those people were killed in landslides, the National Emergency Operations Center spokesman said.

Authorities do not know the total number of people affected by the monsoons since aid only began to be distributed on Thursday.

In the Darchula district, on the western border with India, the Mahakali River overflowed its banks and destroyed about 50 homes.

Security forces on Wednesday rescued some 100 people with helicopters in the southwestern district of Kaitali.

Each year, dozens of people die with the arrival of the rainy season in Nepal, but the rains have come a couple of weeks early this year, experts say.

An important part of the Nepalese population lives in mountainous areas that are substantially affected by heavy rains.

The rain is also causing problems in northern India, where some 150 people have died, about 500 are unaccounted for and thousands have been evacuated. EFE