Death toll tops 100 in Indian Kashmir floods
Foreign ministry says over 30 Israelis trapped in the northern Indian region due to the floods; no one is injured or missing.
At least 110 people were killed and over 300 injured when floods and landslides hit India's northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said Friday.
Israel'sforeign ministry said Friday that over 30 Israelis were trapped in the northern Indian region due to the floods and stated that no one was injured or missing.
The floods were triggered by heavy rain late Thursday in the Leh region, administrative centre of the high-altitude Ladakh district, around 420 kilometres east of state capital Srinagar.
"A total of 110 bodies have been recovered from the flood-hit areas in the operations till now," Sonam Phose, an aide to Kashmir Tourism Minister Rigzin Jora said on the telephone.
Indian media outlets citing police officials put the death toll at85.
Among the victims were three soldiers and four policemen who died during rescue work, the NDTV network reported. There were no tourists among the dead, state officials said.
Buddhist-majority Ladakh is among the popular tourist destinations in India, drawing many trekkers and mountaineers. The main town of Leh is located at 3,500 metres above sea level.
More than 300 injured were being treated at a local army hospital, state police chief Kuldeep Khoda said.
Officials said they feared the death toll could still rise as many people were believed to be trapped in collapsed buildings.
Khoda said a "series of cloud-bursts" hit Leh town and its surrounding villages, triggering torrential rains, mudslides and floods which destroyed many homes and government buildings.
A paramilitary camp, a telephone exchange and a hospital were severely damaged. Choglamsar village was the worst affected among the five villages hit by the sudden downpour.
"There was complete chaos through the night after the heavy rainfall. People were in panic as there was mud and water everywhere," a local resident told the NDTV network.
Ladakh is mountainous desert region but receives some rainfall during India's monsoon season between June and September.
State authorities had mobilized as many as 6,000 soldiers and police and used helicopters for rescue efforts.
Authorities were finding it difficult to contact local officials as communication links remained disrupted through the day.
The mountainous region remained cut off as the road-links were damaged and the runway of Leh airport was flooded.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ordered authorities to make all-out efforts to get aid to the victims and announced relief of 100,000 rupees (2,170 dollars) to the relatives of the dead.