16 lifeless in flash floods at IoJK pilgrimage website

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Soldiers carry a flash flood affected victim during the Amarnath pilgrimage near Baltal base camp in IoJK on July 9, 2022. — AFP
Troopers carry a flash flood affected sufferer in the course of the Amarnath pilgrimage close to Baltal base camp in IoJK on July 9, 2022. — AFP

BALTAL: Sixteen individuals had been killed in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, with rescuers trying to find dozens extra lacking, after flash floods swept away tons of of tents close to a preferred Hindu pilgrimage website, officers mentioned Saturday.

Round 10,000 individuals had been camped close to the distant Amarnath temple, nestled in a Himalayan mountain cave, when a sudden cloudburst triggered a deluge.

Frequent whirring helicopter sorties had been evacuating the lifeless and an unknown variety of panicked and injured pilgrims from the Baltal base camp to the north of the shrine.

“We discovered 16 our bodies to this point and no less than 40 are lacking,” an official from the state catastrophe response company informed AFP.

“Safety forces and all of the rescue groups are in search of the lacking and injured,” the official mentioned on situation of anonymity, as he was not authorised to talk to the media.

The Indian military mentioned it had deployed two infantry battalions and particular forces models to assist with the search alongside search and rescue canine squads.

They’ve to this point taken 63 individuals with accidents away for remedy, together with to a discipline hospital arrange by the military in mountains close to the shrine.

Rescuers had been utilizing handheld thermal imaging gadgets to search for victims who may be trapped beneath the mud, the military assertion mentioned.

Vivek, a pilgrim who escaped the harmful downpour, mentioned that a few of his household and members of the group he traveled to the positioning with had been nonetheless lacking.

“We had been a bunch of 150 and 30 of us are nonetheless caught up there. Their telephones are switched off.”

The annual pilgrimage sees tons of of 1000’s of individuals trek up for days by rugged mountain passes to succeed in the shrine.

Guests pay their respects to a big ice formation they imagine is an incarnation of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a number of other senior authorities officers expressed their grief over the lack of life.

“Condolences to the bereaved households,” Modi tweeted late Friday.

Treacherous climate

The pilgrimage is being held for the primary time since 2019 after a two-year halt introduced on by the coronavirus pandemic.

In regular instances it is without doubt one of the greatest spiritual occasions in Kashmir.

This yr the pilgrimage is being staged alongside an enormous safety deployment involving tens of 1000’s of troopers and police.

However treacherous climate within the mountains has previously posed a much bigger menace than safety points within the restive territory.

Almost 250 individuals died in 1996 after they had been all of a sudden caught up in snowstorms that hit the realm.

Heavy rains have lashed South Asia this monsoon season, with scores killed in June after flooding, landslides, and lightning strikes in India’s distant northeast.

Greater than 100 others had been killed in Bangladesh the identical month when rivers swelled to document ranges and inundated rural villages after a number of the heaviest rains in a century.

Floods are a daily menace in India and Bangladesh, however specialists say local weather change is rising their frequency, ferocity and unpredictability.

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