add to misery of Kashmir's worst floods in decades
Send a link to a friend
[September 12, 2014] By
SRINAGAR India (Reuters) -
Rescuers raced to help communities hit by landslides in
Indian Kashmir on Friday while thousands were stranded,
homeless and hungry in the city of Srinagar, most of
which was submerged by the region's worst flooding in 50
Both the Indian and Pakistan sides of the disputed Himalayan
territory have been hit by extensive flooding since the Jhelum
river, swollen by unusually heavy rain, surged last week. The river
flows from Indian Kashmir to the Pakistan side, and then down into
Pakistan's lower Indus river basin.
On the Pakistani side, officials put the death toll at 264 on Friday
and said that more than one million people had been affected by
floodwaters now cresting in the densely populated province of
In New Delhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said about 200 Indians had
been killed and around 130,000 rescued.
"Almost every second family has one or two missing members," said
Syed Munir Quadri, who has been looking for his father for three
days in Srinagar, a city of some 1.2 million now facing an acute
shortage of fuel, food and medicines.
Indian media said that more than 40 people were killed by a
landslide at a village further south.
"The entire village slid down in a matter of minutes, burying all
houses under tons of rock and mud. The villagers had no time to run
to safety," the CNN-IBN TV channel said on its news website. "The
army rushed in 200 of its soldiers to assist with rescue operations
being carried out by the civil administration."
The ferocity of the floods appeared to have caught the
administration in Indian Kashmir by surprise and has prompted an
outpouring of anger in a Muslim-majority region where a revolt
against Indian rule has simmered for quarter of a century.
Many people praised the Indian army on social media for its rescue
and relief efforts, but others vented their anger at delays in
getting help to survivors.
[to top of second column]
Munir Ahmad was trapped for two days with his brother and domestic
help as waters swirled around his Srinagar home before they were
taken to safety by a rescue boat.
"We were trapped on the tin roof for two days and were crying for
help. We put up a big red flag to draw the attention of the
rescuers. But no helicopter or boat came to our rescue."
"After two days, a local boat spotted us. It took us to a nearby
building where already 40 people had taken shelter."
All but one of Srinagar's major hospitals were under water, and six
infants died in a maternity hospital due to a lack of medical care,
a rescuer said, and telecommunication links to the city have been
down for days.
(Additional reporting by Maria Golovnina in ISLAMABAD; Writing by
John Chalmers; Editing by Douglas Busvine)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be
published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.