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.
- 1 Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how Twitter reacted
- 4 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
350 skinny dippers brave Northumberland seas for record attempt at mass naked swim
Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
Jennifer Lawrence leaked 4Chan sex video branded 'fake' by forum users
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Nursery Assistants RequiredNursery Assis...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you a ...
£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: ENGLISH TEACHER REQUIREDWe are ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...