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Death toll in flash floods of Ladakh in India-controlled Kashmir rises to 156

08-10-2010 10:57 BJT

SRINAGAR, India-controlled Kashmir, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from flash floods and mudslides in the mountainous Ladakh in India-controlled Kashmir Monday rose to 156, with search for missing ones growing pace, officials said.

The rescue teams of Indian army and civil administration are putting in efforts to retrieve the bodies underneath the debris of damaged buildings and collapsed houses.

On Friday sudden downpour and cloud burst triggered flash floods and mudslides in the Ladakh's several villages including Leh city creating havoc.

Around 500 people are reported to be missing, while as another 500 injured in the natural calamity have been hospitalized.

Hundreds of Indian army personnel, paramilitary troopers, policemen and local volunteers are toiling hard to clear roads and restore the communication links. The telecommunication links to the area are not functioning, for the storm toppled the telecommunication towers and water inundated the telephone exchange.

"The major problem is due to the communication breakdown. If communication is restored it will help in co-ordination of rescue operations in a better way," Pashi Tsetan, a local government official said.

Indian army Friday mobilized several columns of its troops to the affected area to carry out rescue operations. It has also flown the relief material and doctors Saturday to the area to tackle the situation.

India's state run television "DD News" Monday said many of the injured were swept away by the deluge for considerable distances before being rescued. It also reported the bodies of two French nationals identified as Augariwelus and Hellot were retrieved from under the debris.

Ladakh is a famous tourist destination and officials said many tourists were holidaying in the area when it was hit. There were reports that some foreign tourists have been affected by the flash floods.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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