Leh toll rises to 165, 81 foreigners rescued


Leh : The toll in the devastating flash floods caused by Friday’s cloudburst in Leh town of Jammu and Kashmir has risen to 165, even as 81 foreign tourists were rescued by the Indian Air Force from Zanskar Valley of Ladakh region, police said Tuesday.

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The foreigners were rescued late Monday.

“We have recovered 165 bodies so far, 140 of whom have been identified. The relief and rescue operations continue in Leh town and 12 villages adjacent to it,” Kashmir zone IGP Farooq Ahmad told IANS.

About 400 injured are being treated in different makeshift hospitals in Leh town, he said.

Air India will again operate four flights Tuesday to evacuate stranded passengers in Leh.

Meanwhile, the Indian Army has requested its Pakistani counterpart to help in locating 28 soldiers who are missing after the tragedy and might have slipped across the Line of Control (LoC).

Leh is 434 km from Srinagar and 474 km from Manali in Himachal Pradesh, to which it is connected by an alternative highway.

The cloudburst occurred at Choglamsar village, which is situated above Leh town, causing flash floods and mudslides that washed away government offices, paramilitary camps and residential homes.

Among the worst hit are the Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR), many local hotels and shops.

The headquarters of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), a government polytechnic, an ITBP camp, a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp, some government offices and the main transmitter of All India Radio Leh have been extensively damaged.

Situated at 3,524 m above sea level, Leh is spread over 45,110 sq km comprising the main town and 12 adjacent villages.