INDIA | Monsoon floods kill nearly 300 in Kashmir

Landslides and flash floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains have killed nearly 300 people in large swaths of northern India and Pakistan, officials said yesterday.
Five days of incessant rain in Indian-controlled Kashmir has killed at least 120 people in the region’s worst flooding in more than five decades, submerging hundreds of villages and triggering landslides, officials said. In neighboring Pakistan, more than 160 people have died and thousands of homes have collapsed, with an official saying the situation was becoming a “national emergency.”
Rescuers in both countries were using helicopters and boats to try to reach tens of thousands of people stranded in their homes as floodwaters rose and submerged many villages.
Rescue efforts in Srinagar, the main city in Indian Kashmir, were hampered by fast-moving floodwaters that submerged large parts of the city.
The rains had stopped yesterday, but officials said the spreading water that had overflowed from the Jhelum River was moving too fast to allow boats to reach many people stranded in Srinagar.
In many neighborhoods in the city, the water was about 4 meters deep, submerging entire houses. Stranded residents left their homes to move in with friends or relatives in safer areas.
“I’m in my 80s and I’ve never seen floods like this,” said Ghulam Nabi, speaking through a window from the third story of his house in Srinagar’s upscale Rajbagh section. “If this is how it is in my neighborhood, I cannot imagine the devastation in other areas.”
Thousands of police officers and army rescue workers were fanned out across Jammu and Kashmir state to help with relief and rescue efforts.
At windows and balconies, worried residents looked at the swirling waters and waited for help.
“The situation is extremely grim,” top civilian official Rohit Kansal said. “We are not able to reach many people because the water is moving so fast.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi surveyed the flood-hit areas from a helicopter yesterday and promised the state federal help to deal with the devastation. Aijaz Hussain, Srinagar , AP

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