Hope and despair in Leh

Leh: For the survivors of the Leh flash floods and mudslides, the nightmare is only just beginning. Many have seen their family and friends being engulfed by the flood, and their lives devastated.    

Padma and Stanzim are still dazed after their narrow escape on Thursday.

"Both these children were stuck in mud and debris but we were lucky to get them alive," said Chiljosm Jangmo.

Not everyone was as lucky. Dorjee Wangchuk had to witness his brother and nephew's bodies being dug out of the debris of their house. Both died in their sleep.

He was sleeping, so didn't realise the mudslide coming down," said Dorjee.

Soldiers and officers of the Army's 3 Infantry division at the forefront of the rescue efforts, are coming across more and more such contrasting stories of hope and despair. Amidst the gloom, the Army continues to dig, search and clear the area.

Over 80 hours after tragedy struck Ladakh, over 6,500 Army personnel are trying to provide food, shelter, medicines, and transportation to over 25,000 residents across the region. The task is not likely to get over quickly.

"I reckon it will take at least three months to restore a semblance of normalcy," said Colonel NJ Singh, Commanding Officer, 3 Ladakh Scouts.

Three days after tragedy struck Leh and its nearby areas, the civilians are now trying to retrieve whatever valuables, day to day utensils and other valuables they can, as the priority now is to get back on their feet, but surrounded as they are by such devastation, it is going to take a while.
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