Leh has been hit by floods. Our friends in India have posted this message which reminds us how fragile things are. Our thoughts go to those in the area, to family and friends.

Things have worsened in Leh since last night, the Trans Himalaya has indeed come down. There has been massive cloudbursts last night at 9:30pm. Even telephone exchanges, hospitals and airports are hit. This morning, Leh airport was full of water, there are several people dead, the Manali – Leh and Leh-Srinagar highways have several bridges and sections of road washed away.

We have 3 vehicles including two trucks with guides and staff that are missing, we do not know their location or whether they are safe. News is not coming in as most phone lines are out. Indian TV has just begun reporting on this news. Watch for updates. Several trekkers are reportd missing.

Weather forecast for the next full week is not encouraging.

There are reports of several people buried under house collapses, Leh town is out of electricity, has several dead strewn about its bus stand. I am trying to find out more about the situation but it is difficult. There are people stuck on trails, rivers that have risen rapidly, and some are missing.

Air traffic to Leh is suspended, till further notice. The army has taken over and restricted movement to get things in order. Traffic into Leh has been brought to a complete standstill and evacuation is the priority right now.

There is no news yet of our guides, staff and vehicles. You can look up news coming in, at ::
http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/leh-f … sing-42357
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/indi … 264165.cms
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/dozens-kille … 287-3.html

Please do NOT travel out to Ladakh and put all plans of hold.

Vaibhav Kala

We have also been given this news info from some friends in India.

Leh flash floods: 103 dead, 25 army jawans missing

With at least 103 people confirmed dead in flash floods near Leh on Thursday night, news has also come in that 25 Army jawans in the area are missing after their posts and houses were washed away, Army sources said.

Leh flash floods: 85 dead, 25 Army jawans missing

A series of cloudbursts in this Himalayan pocket prompted the floods that have caused heavy damage to life, infrastructure and property in the area. The cloudbursts hit Choglumsar area, 13 kilometres from Leh and 424 kilometres from Srinagar. Fifty bodies have been recovered from this small town, officials said.

The injured have been shifted to the local Army base hospital.

Leh flash floods: 85 dead, 25 Army jawans missing

While 85 people have died, many are still missing. Sources in the Defence Ministry said the numbers are likely to go up over 100.

Major roads to Leh have been cut off and the Kargil-Leh highway has been partially damaged. The runway of the civil airport has been cut off from the rest of the country as a thick carpet of slush has settled over it.

Leh flash floods: 85 dead, 25 Army jawans missing

The IAF also conducted repeated aerial sorties throughout the day to assess damage while helicopters were on standby in Kargil, Thoise and Chandigarh.

There was heavy Army presence in the area as special teams were pushed into action to conduct and help with relief operations with the limited resources available as the area remains cut off from the rest of India.

85 dead, over 300 injured in Leh flash floods

Video grab of people sitting on an elevated place after flash flood triggered by a series of cloudbursts in Leh on Friday. PTI Photo

Meanwhile, a Defence Ministry spokesperson said: “25 Army jawans are reported missing. The Defence Institute of High Altitude Research of DRDO has also been damaged. Civilian areas like the bus stand, BSNL towers, hospitals, the runway of the Leh airport and the ATC towers have been affected.”

The Army hospital treated close to 400 injured people and was the only centre of medical attention as the local hospital has been washed away. The ministry said: “Nearly 400 critically injured people have already been evacuated from the makeshift hospitals by the Army. All civilian doctors in the Leh District Hospital have been operating from the Army hospital, Leh as the Civil Hospital is filled with mud.”

85 dead, over 300 injured in Leh flash floods

Video Grab of rescue work after flash flood triggered by a series of cloudbursts in Leh on Friday. PTI Photo

Initial reports indicate extensive damage due because of the sudden floods. Approaches by road to Leh from Srinagar through Zozilla and through the Rohtang Pass have been choked by mud. Bridges have also been washed away on these stretches.

Several columns of Army personnel from the 14 Corps helped in relief and rescue operations.

85 dead, over 300 injured in Leh flash floods

Video Grab of a damaged house after a flash flood triggered by a series of cloudbursts in Leh on Friday. PTI Photo

Defence Minister A K Antony, who is personally monitoring the operation, took a series of meetings of senior officials of the ministry, the Services and the DRDO this morning. A medical team along with essential supplies has been kept on standby to be flown to Leh once the runway is operational.

Communication with the area is also badly hit because of the cloudbursts which was accompanied by heavy rains.

Other areas along the Sindhu river are yet to be accessed and it is feared the human loss would be very heavy.

Source: The Indian Express

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