Exact death toll not known in Leh tragedy: Azad

August 6th, 2010 - 3:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 6 (IANS) Union Health Minister and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Friday said the exact number of casualties due to the flash floods in Leh was not known officially because all communication links in the Ladakh town have been snapped.
“We are trying to contact a minister from Ladakh (Nuwang Rigzin Jora) but have not been able to connect at all because all communications links with the region have been snapped. We even don’t know the exact number of deaths. I believe it is 35 but media reports say it is more than 50. These are all estimated figures. Nothing is confirmed,” Azad told reporters outside parliament.

He said the communication network is expected to be restored by evening and “only then will we be able to know the exact situation”.

Azad described it as the “greatest tragedy” to have struck the Jammu and Kashmir region in “hundreds of years”.

Police in Srinagar said at least 59 people have been killed and over 300 injured in the flash floods and mudslides triggered by a massive cloudburst that hit the tourist town of Leh shortly after midnight.

Soldiers of the army have been pressed into rescue operations.

Leh, situated at 3,524 metres above sea level, is spread over 45,110 sq km, and comprises the main town and 12 adjacent villages.

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