Army in relief, rescue efforts in flood-hit Ladakh

Srinagar, Aug 8 (IANS) The army has launched major rescue and relief efforts after heavy rains and flash floods affected large parts of Ladakh region in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said on Saturday.

The flood waters have inundated roads, submerged villages and damaged bridges, causing havoc during prime tourist season.

A defence ministry statement said troops had launched largescale rescue and relief operations to save lives.

Besides mud and rock slides, there has been a sudden increase in the water levels in almost all water bodies.

Large stretches of roads have got washed away, severing lines of communications and leaving a number of people, including foreign tourists, stranded, the statement said.

Vital bridges near Achinathang, Biamah and Khalsar were washed away, cutting off a number of villages. Some 250 tourists at Upshi and about 150 tourists at Khalsar were stranded.

Army engineers were pressed into service for road repair, construction of temporary bridges and clearance of debris, the statement said.

At Biamah village, where a crucial bridge and 25-30 houses got washed away, the army set up a relief camp to provide food, medicines and other supplies.

In addition, tents, mattresses, sleeping bags and blankets were distributed.

The army also evacuated about 400 stranded tourists from Khalsar and Upshi by constructing improvised crossings.

“Untiring and relentless efforts by soldiers have prevented loss of precious lives despite a calamity of such magnitude,” the statement said.

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