Thousands still stranded in killer Kashmir floods

2014-09-13 13:35
Kashmiri men make their way on a makeshift raft through flooded streets in Srinagar. (Punit Paranjpe, AFP)

Kashmiri men make their way on a makeshift raft through flooded streets in Srinagar. (Punit Paranjpe, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Srinagar - More than 200 000 people remained stranded on Saturday in Indian Kashmir even as flood waters receded, revealing the full extent of the horrific devastation in the Himalayan region, including neighbouring Pakistan, officials said.

The floods and landslides from days of heavy monsoon rains have now claimed more than 450 lives in Pakistan and India, with rescuers struggling to cope with the large-scale disaster.

But as the muddy brown waters subside, emergency officials are able to reach more stranded people in Srinagar, the main city of Indian Kashmir, and surrounding areas afflicted by the worst flooding in a century.

"Rescue teams are now able to go inside houses and get out those still trapped inside and account for the dead bodies," said Shantmanu, divisional commissioner of Jammu region, who uses one name.

The federal government estimates at least 200 people died and 130 000 people have been rescued in restive Indian Kashmir where militants have been fighting Indian rule since the late 1980s.

Public anger

"More than 200 000 people are still stranded, but the exact number is hard to assess," Shantmanu said.

But health worries were mounting about water-borne diseases with local media reporting animal carcasses in the streets.

State chief minister Omar Abdullah, a target of mounting public anger over the government's slow response to the catastrophe, said houses would be rebuilt before "the immense cold" of winter strikes.

"There's no question of people living in tents in winter," he said in Srinagar, according to the Press Trust of India, adding 137 relief camps were operating in the Kashmir valley alone that were helping over 100 000 people.

Abdullah said disinfectants like chlorine were being used to avert water-borne diseases.

"Clean drinking water is a problem. I've asked authorities to use medicine liberally to reduce chances of disease," Abdullah said.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told India's NDTV now "we are bound to have water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea gastroenteritis" but "we're very alert to everything".

Each flood-hit family whose home was destroyed will get an initial 75 000 rupees ($1 233) to rebuild and six months of free food rations, the state government said.

As the water-logged streets were being cleared, a "continuous flow" of visitors - mainly from the rest of India - who had been stranded headed for Srinagar airport, but there were not enough flights, Shantmanu said.

"More than 5 000 people are waiting at the airport."

Abdullah has defended the long time it took for authorities to help some people stricken by the floods, saying no one could have anticipated the ferocity and magnitude of the disaster.

Read more on:    india  |  floods

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.