Leh: Around 400 people are still missing in Leh, the high altitude capital of Ladakh. Among those missing are 31 jawans of the Indo-Tibetan border police whose camp was washed away in flash floods following Friday's cloud burst in the area.
The picturesque landscape of Ladakh has been completely destroyed. Fortunately, the Air Force has managed to completely clean up the mud and slush from the runway, so both commercial and military flights are landing in Leh.
The assessment of loss has so far been limited mostly to Leh, and its suburbs.
Some villages along the Chang La pass, the world's second highest motorable road, have been completely washed away.
The extent of the devastation here, was only known today after Union Minister Farooq Abdullah reached with an aerial survey team.
Cabinet colleagues Ghulam Nabi Azad and Prithviraj Chavan joined him soon after. The destruction stretches all the way to the last Indian Army post on the border, Tyakshi.
Twenty eight soldiers have died here, most of them washed away by the floodwaters.
"A number of places have been damaged very badly and will have to be restored rapidly to carry supplies and relief material to these areas," said Farooq Abdullah, Union Minister.
In Leh, the district hospital is in ruins. Operation theatres, wards, X-ray machines are all in shambles. In absence of a mortuary, bodies lie in the open, most unclaimed.
"We have brought a very big team of doctors from Delhi," said Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Contractors from across the region have reported several migrant labourers missing. Little hamlets along the Indus where they lived, mostly unaccounted, have been wiped away.
And as Azad and Farooq Abdullah tried to reach out to people in far off areas of Ladakh, the real challenge for the government is to search for missing and relief to survivors.