Indian Army carries rescue operation in cloudburst-hit Leh

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Leh, Aug 9 (ANI): The Indian Army personnel on Monday rescued 317 tourists both domestic and foreign, along the Leh - Srinagar and Leh - Manali axis as part of the on going rescue and relief operations in cloudburst-hit Leh.

The tourists, who were taken to safer locations and afforded medical aid, food and shelter, include foreigners from Japan, France, Ireland, Italy, Israel, Canada, etc.

The Army authorities are informing the respective embassies of the details and well being of the foreign tourists.

Meanwhile, the rescue and relief operations by the Army continued through the third day since the cloud burst left Leh and its surrounding areas devastated.

The locals fearing the weather conditions, continued to spend the night on the heights around Leh town. The Army using specialized equipment and sniffer dogs continued to extract the bodies from the slush and debris in the disaster struck area.

The Army engineers have established improvised bridges for the locals to cross the gushing streams, where the bridges have been washed away. Traffic on both the highways connecting Leh to Manali and Srinagar remains suspended. The process of clearing the highways and is restoration of bridges is underway.

The Army handed over relief material to include 5000 blankets, 1000 mattresses and 3,000 waterproof tarpaulins to the civil administration for distributing the same to the affected locals.

Following the disastrous flash floods that hit Leh on Friday, the Army is now searching for the bodies of 26 jawans who are missing from Thygasi near Turtuk along the Line of Control

Moreover, there has been a massive damage to military infrastructure across Ladakh due to the flash floods.

"Many forward posts were cut off. Our priority is to recover the dead bodies to avoid the outbreak of epidemic. While the Manali-Leh highway would open for light vehicles soon, the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh road may take three to four days more to open," said 14 Corps Commander Lt General S K Singh.

Till the last reports came in, five Army personnel and 143 civilians have died, 41 Army personnel and 500 civilians are being treated in various hospitals. (ANI)

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