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Toll up, relief picks pace

A doctor, along with his wife and two children, were stuck in Bagso from Friday to Sunday.

india Updated: Aug 08, 2010 23:29 IST
Tarun Upadhyay
Tarun Upadhyay
Hindustan Times

A doctor, along with his wife and two children, were stuck in Bagso from Friday to Sunday.

“I got a call from the Block Medical Hospital to join duty at any cost. For three days we were stuck at Bagso. Finally we decided to abandon the car and move on foot (they travelled 20 km). At this hour of crisis, human lives are more valuable than my personal comfort,” Dr Ehsan, who goes by one name, told Hindustan Times journalists who dropped them at the hospital in Phyang.

The number of the dead in Ladakh’s flashfloods has gone past 175, though the Army’s figure is 136. Forty foreign tourists who had gone on a trek are stuck in Skuasuchan, but are safe. In all, 174 tourists are stranded at various places in the region. The Leh airport runway has been cleaned up and flights are on. Special flights of Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Kingfisher are operating from Leh to New Delhi.

Medicines, blankets and two tonnes of relief material were flown to the region on Sunday.

The Indian Air Force has sent bulldozers and communication equipment to Leh.

“In a bid to restore vital communication links, an IL-76 aircraft of the Air Force transported Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited equipment from New Delhi to Leh,” a defence spokesman said.

The IAF has also airlifted a heavy duty bulldozer from Chandigarh to clear the debris there.

The number of those missing has come down to 200 from the earlier estimated figure of 600.

“At last count 136 people have lost their lives, more than 500 injured and about 200 missing,” said army spokesman J.S

“People who had fled to higher areas during the floods are now returning. That is why the number of those missing has come down,” he added.

The Army is trying to start operations on the Srinagar-Leh highway in six days. “If weather and resources are favourable, the Srinagar-Leh highway will be in operation in six days,” a senior Army official said.

Humanitarian considerations cut across communal divides. The locals said Buddhist, Muslim and Hindu volunteers started cremating or burying those identified.

(With inputs from Srinagar)

First Published: Aug 08, 2010 23:27 IST