Friday 23 March 2018

130 die in Indian storms

Aijaz hussain in sringagar

Authorities stepped up rescue efforts yesterday, a day after flash floods sent rivers of mud down desert mountainsides in Indian-controlled Kashmir, killing at least 130 people and injuring 400 others, officials said.

As the rain stopped in the morning, thousands of army, police and paramilitary soldiers cleared roads and debris from flattened homes in the remote Himalayan region of Ladakh.

The floods severely damaged the town's main state-run hospital, forcing authorities to shift patients to a nearby army hospital.

Twenty-seven more bodies were recovered from collapsed homes, state police Chief Kuldeep Khoda said. Rescuers had found 103 bodies last Friday. Officials gave no figures for missing people, but said they included 28 soldiers.

Nearly 2,000 foreign tourists were in Ladakh, a popular destination for adventure sports enthusiasts, when a rare powerful thunderstorm triggered floods and mudslides last Friday, burying homes and toppling power and telecommunication towers. There were no immediate reports of casualties among foreigners.

Police and soldiers are believed to have rescued more than 150 people, including 100 foreign tourists, mostly Europeans, stranded in Pang village northeast of Leh.

But they were still unable to reach about 5,000 people in Choglamsar, a village on Leh's outskirts, because of mudslides that were blocking the road.

Sunday Independent

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