Navy called in as devastating floods return to batter Pakistan and India

Pakistan's navy sailed to the rescue of people stranded by devastating floods yesterday, while in India rescuers dug through destroyed homes and piles of mud after huge landslides in the remote north of the country killed about 130 people and left more than 500 missing.

Using rubber and wooden vessels, the troops patrolled parts of Sindh province where people struggled chest-deep through water with their possessions on their heads and their chickens. "We have been doing this for several days," naval officer Akhter Mahmood told Reuters after his boat had travelled through more than a dozen miles of floodwater.

The floods that have left an estimated 1,600 people dead and affected more than 13 million people, have wrecked 1.4 million acres of agricultural land in India's breadbasket, Punjab, and elsewhere. As a result, food prices have leapt up, causing added hardship. The price of staples such as tomatoes, onions and potatoes have in some cases increased fourfold in recent days, putting them out of reach for many Pakistanis.

This, coupled with anger about the seemingly inadequate response of the authorities to the worst floods in more than 80 years, will add to the pressure on the government as it struggles to respond to the disaster. President Asif Ali Zardari has been criticised for going ahead with a trip to Britain and other countries while the crisis raged.

In the northern part of Indian-controlled Kashmir, officials revealed that five foreign tourists were among the dozens of people killed by landslides, triggered last Friday by flash floods. It is thought that 2,000 tourists were in Ladakh when the storm struck. Many tourists have been helping in the rescue and clean-up operation.

Five hundred Indians are still missing, including 28 soldiers. "There may be more people missing because of the vastness of the area," one local official told reporters.

Police, troops and paramilitaries are clearing roads to try and enable rescuers to reach remote and isolated communities. In some places, the mud is said to be 15ft deep and there is a shortage of bulldozers and other heavy machinery. The injured are being treated at an army hospital and several makeshift clinics in and around Leh, the worst-hit town.

August is the peak tourist season in Ladakh, 280 miles east of Srinagar. Its moonscape-like terrain set in a high-altitude desert is popular with trekkers and adventurers. Normally, it gets very little rain and local farmers rely on glacial melt-waters to irrigate their crops.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Nursery Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Nursery Assistants RequiredNursery Assis...

Supply Teachers needed in Bolton!

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you a ...

English Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: ENGLISH TEACHER REQUIREDWe are ...

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments