Security personnel and rescue teams on Saturday continued searching for missing people in the debris as the death toll in Friday’s flash floods and mud slides in Ladakh’s Leh district reached 132.
An estimated 600 people, include 150 Bihari labourers, are missing. At least 400 people have been injured.
Six air force aircraft, carrying relief material, rescue workers, doctors and sniffer dogs, landed in Leh on Saturday, but rescue work was hampered by heavy rain.
Friday’s floods were triggered by cloudbursts in Leh town and adjoining areas, around 425 km east of Srinagar. Most residents were caught unawares as they were sleeping.
Some 60 bodies have been identified.
“Many tourists and trekkers were rescued from various mountains in the area,” said divisional commissioner Naseema Lankar.
“We are setting up tents and will be shifting homeless people to schools and government buildings.”
Choglamsar village, 13 km from Ladakh town, is the worst-affected area, with nearly all homes washed away or turned to mud.
“When the flood waters came, it felt like a plane landed in my house,” said Lather (60), a resident of the village (only identified by his first name). “We were able to rescue a woman and her two children.”
Around 30 bodies were recovered from Choglamsar. Another 200 people from the village are missing.
Besides 33 columns of the army (nearly 2,000 men), jawans of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, personnel of the Jammu and Kashmir police, and residents are helping with the rescue work in Leh.
Two teams from the Union health ministry, including a public health expert, two anaesthetists, two surgeons and two orthopedicians, with five tonnes of medicines, also reached Leh from Delhi on Saturday.