South Asia

Death toll from flash flooding in India rises to 185

Damaged caused by floods in Leh
Image caption Officials estimate that 80% of Ladakh's infrastructure has been partially damaged or totally destroyed

The death toll in last week's flash floods in the Ladakh region of Indian-administered Kashmir has risen to at least 185, officials have said.

Divisional Commissioner Naseema Lanker told the BBC that 28 Indian soldiers were among the 400 people missing.

Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters have carried out sorties to rescue the injured and several foreign tourists.

Efforts are also being made to rebuild damaged roads connecting the remote Himalayan region to the rest of India.

Ladakh is a predominantly Buddhist region east of Srinagar, the summer capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

A plateau, much of which lies above 3,000m (9,800ft), it spans the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges and the upper Indus river valley. It receives very little rainfall annually, so few people were prepared for the flash floods which swept away everything in their path.

Officials estimate that 80% of Ladakh's infrastructure has been partially damaged or totally destroyed. Thousands of soldiers have been taking part in the relief efforts.

The BBC's Chris Morris in Srinagar says that the local population has been hardest hit in the floods, with many of them losing everything under a devastating wave of mud.

It may take several years to get Ladakh back to normal, officials warn.

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