This Article is From Aug 09, 2010

Leh flash floods: Over 150 dead, 200 still missing

Leh: Frantic rescue efforts are underway in Leh and parts of Ladakh after Friday's devastating cloudburst that flattened villages and snapped power and communication links.

According to the latest estimates over 150 people are now dead. (Watch: This labourer lost nine relatives)

Although many families reported missing after water swept through their villages have now returned to their homes, around 200 people are still missing.

As more bodies are dug out, identifying them is becoming difficult. Many of the dead are migrant labourers, some are believed to be tourists. So far, only half the bodies found have been identified. (Read: Survivors recount the Leh devastation)

Thirty five satellite phones have been sent to Leh to ensure communication. BSNL mobile services will start in Leh by tonight.

6,500 Army and 1,000 ITBP personnel are working round the clock, struggling through piles of slush and mud. (Blog: Reporting from Leh Ground Zero)

The Leh runway has been cleaned up and flights are operating. Nine IAF planes have landed in the area to assist in rescue efforts. They brought relief material including 5,000 blankets, 75 tarpaulins and a team of nurses.

Special Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Kingfisher are flights operating from Leh to Delhi to bring stranded tourists back. The first plane carrying passengers landed in Delhi on Sunday morning. (Watch: Survivors arriving back in Delhi)

The Army and the ITBP, and the Army engineers especially from the Trishul division, are focusing on cleaning the road which connects Karu to Leh. They are trying to create a bridge so that at least single lane traffic for light vehicles can resume, and other relief material can flow into this place.

Due to the landslides, the Manali-Leh road is blocked at Patsio, Serchu and Pang. The Srinagar-Leh road is blocked at Kargil, Boodh Kharbu and Nimu.

For the survivors, the nightmare is only just beginning. Many have seen their family and friends being engulfed by the flood, and their lives devastated. (Read: Hope and despair in Leh)