Armed forces at forefront of relief operations in Ladakh | india | Hindustan Times
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Armed forces at forefront of relief operations in Ladakh

india Updated: Aug 19, 2010 18:58 IST

The armed forces are working tirelessly to provide succour to people in Ladakh and helping them piece together their lives shattered by the devastating flash flood earlier this month even as the army is mourning the loss of 23 of its men in the tragedy.

"The army has lost 23 soldiers, including three Junior Commisioned Officers, in the flash flood. Twelve army personnel are still missing but the armed forces are continuing with rescue and relief operations in Ladakh," an official said.

On Wednesday, the Indian Air Force (IAF) flew one sortie of IL-76 transport aircraft and three sorties of Cheetah helicopters to Leh, airlifting six tonnes of relief materials as well as carrying the bodies of two personnel and one civilian.

"So far, the air force has airlifted over 361 tonnes of relief material and equipment and flown 826 passengers in 244 sorties," the official said.

Over 2,000 army personnel continue to conduct rescue and relief operations on the ground.

To improve connectivity in the region, army troops are assisting the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in construction and repair of the Hunuthang-Handonbrooke road.

The army has been carrying out major rescue operations in Ladakh region, where the Aug 6 massive cloudburst triggered flash floods and mudslides killed some 180 people.

The army's road construction wing, the BRO, has restored most of the 21 bridges washed away in the flash floods.

The 23 army personnel were killed in the flash floods near a border post.

Officials said the soldiers were buried under a mudslide. A few missing personnel are feared to have been washed away by the Shyok river into areas under Pakistani control.

The river water rose due to the cloudburst and washed away the Tyakshi border post in Turtuk sector, about 150 metres from the Line of Control (LoC).

The cloudburst has done a lot of damage to civilian as well as military establishments. Small culverts and bridges in the border area have been destroyed.

The Shyok river flows through the area into the Northern Areas of Gilgit Baltistan now under Pakistani control.