Home > India > 112 people killed in flash floods in Leh; 500 missing

112 people killed in flash floods in Leh; 500 missing

August 7, 2010

Over 110 people were killed and a few hundred more are feared washed away in a cloudburst followed by torrential rains and flash floods that devastated this Himalayan town in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir early Friday.

Eyewitness accounts and other sources fear that the death toll could cross over 500 as several far flung villages were yet to be accessed by rescue teams in this high-altitude terrain.

“We have recovered 112 bodies so far and at least 370 are injured. The number of missing is yet to be ascertained,” State Police Chief Kuldeep Khoda said and added that the toll may go up.

A contractor told senior state administration officials that 150 of his labourers were missing from Shyong village where he had lodged them.

The colony was set up along the river Sindh and the officials feared that many huts would have been washed away in the flash floods.

The Army was being asked to give an account of local and outstation labourers. Over 200 people were still reported to be missing from the worst-hit village Chougham Sar, 13 kms from Leh.

Authorities said that the Army had suffered losses in Turtuk area. Some of the villages along the Chang La pass, world’s second highest motorable road, were also believed to have been washed away in the torrential rains.

A three-member Central team comprising Farooq Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Prithviraj Chavan will be visiting the area on Saturday.

The nation, led by President Pratibha Patil expressed grief over the tragedy that had befallen on this town during the night.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too expressed sorrow over the loss of life and property in the flash floods and announced ex-gratia relief of Rs one lakh each to next of kin of each of the deceased.

Leh airport runway was affected due to the inclement weather but was made operational by afternoon to facilitate landing of aircraft carrying relief material and rescue teams.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah flew to Leh to make an on-the-spot assessment of the situation. He visited the areas and spoke to the affected families.

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