Thousands trapped and hundreds killed by floods in India and Pakistan

In Indian Kashmir, around 2,500 villages were either partially or completely submerged

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The Independent Online

Emergency services in India and Pakistan are struggling to reach thousands of people who have been trapped in some of the worst flooding in decades. Up to 300 people have been killed.

In India’s Kashmir, where the situation was said to be the worst since India secured independence more than 60 years ago, villages were cut off and submerged and hospitals and army bases were inundated with flood water. Large areas of crops have been ruined as the Jhelum river broke its banks.

The state’s Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, warned people in need of help to move to the highest part of their home and promised that they would be rescued. “We are doing the best we can under the circumstances,” he said on social media. “Please don’t panic. We will reach you. I promise.”

The severity of the flooding led India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to travel to Kashmir and view some of the worst-affected areas in a helicopter. “I would like to assure the people of the state that it is not their crisis alone. It is a crisis for the whole country,” he later said, announcing £110m in compensation and emergency funds.

The flooding is not just confined to the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir. In Pakistan, more than 100 people have been killed in Pakistani Kashmir and Punjab. Mr Modi said he was ready to help people in Pakistani Kashmir if they required it.

As it is, thousands of Pakistani troops are already involved in an emergency operation to try to reach people in the areas worst affected by the flooding, including Jhelum, Sarai Alamgir and Sialkot. The troops are said to have reached more than 3,000 people.

In Pakistan’s Punjab province, the Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif, the brother of the Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, declared a flood emergency for the entire province.

In Indian Kashmir, around 2,500 villages were either partially or completely submerged. Thousands of people spent much of yesterday standing on rooftops waiting to be rescued.

Heavy rains had stopped on Saturday afternoon but flood waters continued to rise overnight in Srinagar, home to 900,000 people.

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