Kashmir Floods: Death Toll Climbs to 420, Thousands Trapped on Roofs

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Srinagar, India - The death toll from the heaviest rain to fall on Kashmir in 50 years rose to at least 420 on Tuesday, with thousands still trapped on rooftops as criticism of Indian and Pakistani authorities' disaster preparedness mounted. On the Indian side of the heavily militarized Line of Control that divides the Himalayan region, the city of Srinagar and more than 2,000 villages were submerged. India's meteorological department had forecast heavy rain in Kashmir last week, but the Central Water Commission, which issues flood advisories, has been criticized by Indian media for not warning the state.

Some 47,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in India, where 217 were reported dead by Tuesday. The Indian Air Force has airdropped over 550 tons of relief material, and 80 medical teams have established emergency health services. In Pakistan, 203 people were reported killed by the flash floods in Kashmir and adjoining areas. Saeed Qureshi, an official at the State Disaster Management Authority, said the volume of rainfall had rendered contingency plans useless. "Rains with unexpected density wreaked havoc on the hilly areas beyond our imagination," Qureshi said.


- Reuters