Chances of missing persons’ survival turning bleak; death toll rises to 165

Chances of missing persons’ survival turning bleak; death toll rises to 165

9 August 2010
The Daily Excelsior
Mohinder Verma

LEH: With every passing day, the chances about survival of missing persons have been turning bleak as heaps of debris were yet to be removed from several areas particularly Choglumsar, which bore the maximum brunt of devastation caused by the cloud burst and flash floods while as the death toll in the nature’s fury reached 165 today. In the meantime, airlifting of the stranded people including tourists continued for the third day today with private airlines operating a total of 12 flights on New Delhi-Leh-Jammu aerial route and airlifting 1400 persons. Eighty-one foreigners and six tour operators were also rescued from Zanskar valley and two ailing foreign nationals evacuated from Pang valley and brought here for treatment in Army Hospital by the Indian Air Force. As rescue and relief efforts continued on war-footing for the fourth day today, the death toll climbed to 165 with rescuers digging up 33 more bodies while hundreds of people continued to remain untraced as removal of slush from all the affected areas particularly Choglumsar was taking time and some areas were still inaccessible. Of the 165 deceased, 150 have been identified and last rites of 15 others were performed as neither their identification could be established nor anybody turned up to claim the bodies. 'Since hundreds of missing persons are still believed to be under the rubble, there are very remote chances of their survival and keeping in view huge slush everywhere particularly in Choglumsar, it seems that rescuers will take some more days to completely remove the debris', an officer of the Leh district administration said on the condition of anonymity. Worried about the fate of missing persons, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Naseema Lankar said, 'it is fact that huge debris is lying in several areas. Keeping in view the intensity of devastation, we can only pray for the survival of the missing persons and they cannot be declared dead till rubble is cleared from all the areas'. In order to trace the missing persons, sniffer dogs have also been brought here and pressed into service. They have started assisting the teams of Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF), Jammu and Kashmir Police, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and local volunteers besides personnel of Disaster Management Force in locating the missing people. Notwithstanding the fact that there has been no fresh rainfall since cloud-burst and subsequent flash floods, fear psychosis continued to grip the large number of people, who have been preferring to stay put in the higher reaches. Their faces turn pale whenever sky turns over-cast and this indicates that they have been finding it difficult to come out of the worst ever tragedy the nature’s fury had brought. 'During the reconstruction of Leh, the administration should pay proper attention towards creating protection walls along the nullahs in the inhabited areas so that deaths and devastations which the cloudburst and flash floods had brought on the intervening night of August 4 and 5, could be avoided in future', Sonam Wangchok, a resident of Ney village said. 'Nobody is ready to believe that after such a devastation, the rainfall will again be a rare phenomenon in the cold desert region', he further said, adding 'some people have also started thinking of reconstruction of their houses in the upper reaches so that they don’t face horrendous flash floods in future'. A Ministry of Defence spokesman said that the Indian Air Force rescued 81 foreigners and six tour guides from the 11,000- feet high picturesque Zanskar valley. These foreigners were stranded there for over three days, as Zanskar valley was totally cut-off from the rest of the Kargil and Leh districts. He said that late last evening, IAF received an information that about 150 foreigners were struck up in the Zanskar valley and with the first ray of the light at around 5.30 am, the IAF started operation to rescue them. 'We flew the small five seater Chetak helicopter rather than the MI-17 as the valley was narrow', Air Vice Marshal, J Chauhan, Air Officer Commanding for Jammu and Kashmir said, adding though the initial information said there were about 150 odd stranded foreigners, the actual number was 81'. A record number of 62 sorties were carried out by Chetak helicopters in five and half hours to bring back 81 foreign tourists and six tour operators from Zanskar to Leh. The valley was so narrow that even the Chetak found it tough to turn around. We had to land on hard surface as there was no helipad there,' said Wing Commander Manish V Patel, who was heading the operation and made the first sortie. The foreigners include 17 British and French nationals each, 9 Dutch nationals, 8 Czech, 7 German, 4 Israeli, Swiss and Romanian each, three Ausi, American and Italian each and 2 Spanish, the spokesman said, adding a special police assistance booth was opened to help those who have lost their passport and other travel documents so that they could be airlifted from Leh in commercial flights to Union Capital. Out of 76 foreign nationals kept at Pang valley, two were also airlifted here as their health got deteriorated. They were admitted in the Army Hospital where doctors provided them all medicare and they were responding to treatment when reports last came in. Even the airlifting of stranded tourists and others continued for the third day today with Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Kingfisher operating a total of 12 flights on New Delhi- Leh and Leh-Jammu routes. A total of 1400 people were airlifted from Leh, which includes 1288 for New Delhi and 112 for Jammu. As number of stranded people is still very large, these airlines will continue to operate their flights tomorrow also. However, the destination other than New Delhi will be decided tomorrow. Meanwhile, the IAF’s all out efforts in rescue and relief operations received further boost when Air Marshal NAK Browne, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command under whose charge the Northern Sector falls, arrived here to oversee relief and air bridge operations. He also carried a consignment of medical aid to the civil administration on his flight and handed over the same to local administration personally. Accompanied by Air Vice Marshal, R Sitaraman, the AOC-in-C reviewed the infrastructure of airbase, which was restored for full fledged operations in record time of seven and half hours as a result of which a total of 16 flights (both IAF and civil) were undertaken on Saturday and 22 flights (both IAF and civil) on Sunday. An official spokesman said that Army troops and ITBP personnel have also been assisting Border Roads Organization in creating diversions at several damaged bridge sites on NH-1D while as two bridges have been launched at Phyang and Choglumsar. Work on one bridge has also been completed in Nimoo village. As the work on Leh-Manali road has been going on war footing, it is likely to be opened within a day or two so that foreign tourists kept at Pang valley could leave by road while as reopening of Leh-Kargil-Srinagar road will take some time. 'As far as communication link is concerned, work on installation of BSNL equipment has been going on war footing while as 7 tonnes of additional cables for the Army have also reached here for further enhancing the communication facilities', an official spokesman said. According to ITBP spokesman, Deepak Kumar Pandey, the force has opened a medical camp at Sabu village and three relief camps at Leh to provide relief to the injured and bereaved. About 1000 ITBP personnel had been deployed in the relief and rescue works. More than 400 homeless victims had been accommodated in the relief camps, set up by the force and more than 70 injured were admitted in the disaster wards of the ITBP. Apart from providing drinking water, food and medical help to all affected population, the ITBP was also distributing blankets and tents to the homeless victims. 'Now the focus is on providing relief to the victims and restoration of normalcy. We have retrieved a few more dead bodies from the debris,' he said. According to Deputy Commissioner, Kargil the preliminary damage caused to the property and other infrastructure due to the recent torrential rains and flash floods in the district has been estimated for Rs.55 crore. Nearly 30 per cent standing crops have been washed away while it is apprehended that remaining standing crops may also suffer damage due to broken Irrigation Khuls. Meanwhile, 40 Irrigation Khuls, 85 water supply schmes including main water supply line to the Kargil town, 25 road links, 10 bridges, 100 residential houses and hundreds of kanals of agriculture land have been severely damaged in the devastating floods.   List of identified deceased Sane Bano, wife of Rehzat Ullha of Leh, Shahina Bano, daughter of Ghulam Mahidin, Rinchen Dorjay, wife of Tundup Tsering, Sonam Angmo, daughter of Tsering Tundup, Rinzen Angmo, wife of Lobzang Tundup, Mohd Hanif, son of Abdul Rashid of Doda, Isfaq Ahmad, son of Ghulam Rasool of Doda, Javid Malik, son of Mohd Razan of Doda, Imran Ahmad, son of Abdul Gani of Doda, Ram Lal, son of Sahi Bushan of Doda, Tsering Diskit, wife of Yang Tsering of Leh, Tsering Chondol, wife of Lamo Phunchok, of Leh, Stanzin Chosgail, son of Sonam Norphel, Sonam Yangchan, wife of Tsering Nurboo, Tsering Yangskit, wife of Yang Tsering, Paksang Tsering, son of Yangphel, Pashu Pal, son of Niaf Chand of Doda, Pretem Singh, son of Paresh Ram of Doda, Predeep Kumar, son of Posesh Ram of Doda, Mohd Hussain, son of Mohd Kazem of Kargil, Mohd Shafi, son of Mir Ghulam Rasool, Ajay Kumar, son of Ayat Kumar of Punjab, Sher Kumar, son of Bulit Ram of Bihar, Neru Ram, son of Novel Ram of Ganga Nagar, Kunzes Dolma, wife of Tsewang Thupstan of Kargil, Stanzin of Leh, Sonam Gyaltsan, son of Tashi Gyaltsan of Leh, Tsering Dolma, wife of Phuntsog Tsering of Leh, Stanzin Mutup, son of Tsering Nubroo of Leh, Stanzin Yangdol, wife of Sonam Rinchen of Leh, Ghulam Nabi, son of Mohd Abdulal of Kishtwar, Tsewang Samstan, son of Tsering Mutup of Leh, Rigzen Wangail, son of Thinless Dorjay of Leh, Sonam Chonzom, wife of Rigzin Wangyal, Tashi Dolkar of Leh, Stanzin Sonam, son of Gyaltan, Stanzin Chosphel, son of Dorjay Phunchok of Leh, Nima Zangmo wife of Tsering Dorjay of Nepal, Tsering Neklal, son of Rajesh Kumar, Nawang Tsering, son of Tsering Gatok of Leh,Thiksay, Tashi Nima, son of Sonam Tsering of Leh (Meru), Mubarik Khatoon, daughter of Ajaz Ali of Kargil, Santosh Ram, son of Buland Ram of Bihar, Ram Miswat, son of Mangale Ram, Muna Kumar, son of Bhula Ram, Manush Kumar, son of Haskari Ram, Manto Ram, son of Bhuland Ram, Tsering Lamo, wife of Ishay Tundup of Leh, Baljil Manjit, son of Parjet Manjit of Bihar, Nilza Angmo, daughter of Sonam Angmo of Nubra, Nilza Angmo, daughter of Tashi Tundup of Ney, Nissar Ahmed of IRP 4th BN, Abdul Hussain of IRP 4th BN, Chonzom Dolma, wife of Tsering Dorjay of Nubra, Reyas Ud Din, son of Nazir Ud Din of Nubra, Jigmat Dorjay, son of Rigzin Paljor of Leh, Thukjay Angmo, wife of Tsering Dorjay of Domkhar, Tsering Dolkar, wife of Padma Dorje of Korzok, Deachen Choskit, daughter of Padma Dorjay, Roshan Lal, son of Hans Lal of Samba, Ram Lal, son of Madan of Bihar, Rakesh Kohli, son of A.L.Kohli of Punjab, Stanzin Dolma, daughter of Tsering Dorjay of Leh, Bakta Bahdur, son of Dil Bhadur of Nepal, Kunga Namgyal, son of Tsering Thustan of Leh, Tsering Dolma, daughter of Konchok Phanday of Tangtse, Kame Lama, son of Pasang Gyalpo Lamo of Nepal, Sammana Bano, daughter of Ajaz Ahmad of Kargil, Deachen Paldon, daughter of Tashi Mutup of Choglumsar, Ajay Raina, son of Budini Ram of Nepal, Phunchok Gelak, son of Rigzin Deldan of Nepal, Padma Chosdon, daughter of Sonam Wandus of Leh, Padma Dolma, wife of Tashi Paldan of Leh, Tashi Paldan of Leh, Kushali Samasar, wife of Banasi Lhatir of Garh, Gita Kumari, daughter of Ragir Kumar, Raju Daleep, Rishpal, son of Uttam Singh of Udhampur, Mohd Ali, son of Akhoon Hussain of Kargil, Lakpa Gyalmo, daughter of Kami Lama of Chani Nepali, Padma Dolma, wife of Tashi Paljor of Leh, Chosket Dolma, daughter of Sonam of Mudh, Tsering Dorjay, son of Ishey Murup of Choglumsar, Santosh Kumar, son of Halkari Ram of Bihar, Tashi Dadul, son of Tashi Nurboo of Leh, Dil Bai Saroj, Thupstan Tsultim, son of Rigzin Deldan of Tarchit, Konchok Sonam, son of Skarma Khando of Kumdok, Pasang Tsering, son of Yangphel of Choglumsar, Tsering Yangkyid, wife of Tenzin, Tenzin Yangdon, daughter of Dawa Tsering, Stanzin Dolma, wife of Tsewang Phuntsog of Ney, Tsering Palmo, wife of Tsewang Phuntsog of Ney, Tsering Wangdus of Ney, Nurgis Khatoon of Pheyang, Roqiya Bano, daughter of Hussain Ali of Pheyang, Rehana Parveenof Pheyang, Sania Zahra, Sukra Bano, daughter of Mohd Javed, Kulsum, daughter of Khatoon Hussain Ali, Kherun Nissa, Haseen Bano, daughter of Mohd Ali, Tsewang Nurboo, Samstan Zangmo, wife of Tsewang Nurboo, Morup Dolma, wife of Tsewang Namgyal of Skurbuchan, Stanzin Dolma, wife of Tsering Stanzin, Tsering Namgyal, son of Tsering Angchuk of Saboo, Nilza Angmo, daughter of Tsewang Gonbo of Chemday, Tashi Dorjayof Saboo, Chondol Sonam Tsering of Saboo, Phunchok Wangdus Rinchen of Pheyang, Sonam Dolma of Taru, Tsetan Dolkar, daughter of Spalay Angmo of Thiksay, Sogra Bano, daughter of Mohd Javed of Pheyang, Shekhar Maan, son of Bhadur Shekar of Nepal, Prem Delip of Chattisgarh, Kusheli Behe Samaru of Chattisgarh, Kelan Bee, wife of Chander Shekhar of Chattisgarh, Venod Gopal of Chattisgarh, Kesan Bai, wife of Puney Ram of Chattigarg, Kamlishri Buhhdan of Chattisgarh, Rameshwar Dane Ram of Chattisgarh, Penkey Rajan of Chattisgarh, Vearun Nermala of Chattisgarh, Kum Kum, wife of Suvarash Kumar of Chattisgarh, Lashmi Ganga of Chattisgarh, Samai Lal Malhusi of Chattisgarh, San Jai Banvali of Chattisgarh, Pento Delay of Chattisgarh, Skalzang Edzes, daughter of Kunga Namgayl of Thiksay, Fatima Nessa, daughter of Mohd Hussain of Kargil, Sikendar Patel, son of Tanpal Patel of Bihar, Mahurdin Ansari, son of Salari Ansari of Nepal, Manee Patel, son of Ishwarnat Patel of Nepali, Ramesh Patel, son of Parma Patel of Nepal, Narai Badur, son of Sume Chapsi Sonar of Nepal, Amarjit Kour of Leh, Tashi Gatsal, Santosh Kumar, son of Jeed Badur Kumat of Nepal, Nel Badur, son of Meena of Nepal, Stanzin Yangdol, daughter of Dawa Tsering of Manetselding, Rigzin Chomo of Koyul, Saima Bano, wife of Gh Mohi-ud-din of Saboo, Aasiya Belquis, daughter of Gh. Mohi ud Din of Saboo, Riyaz ud Din, son of Nazir Ud Din of Saboo, Tsering Angchuk, son of Nurboo Tundup of Saboo, Tsewang Spaldon, wife of Tsering Angchuk of Saboo, Satyanareyan Chawdhary, son of Chamma Tharu of Nepal, Anil Chowdhary, son of Gari Ram of Nepal and Nissa Khatoon, daughter of Mohd Hassan of Manesermo. List of 71 injured Ishey Dorjay, son of Tashi Paljor of Leh, Jigmet Namgail, son of Nawang Tsering of Leh, Kham Bahadur, son of Zai Bahadur of Nepal, Mukhtar Yadav, son of Raman Yadav of Bihar, Rigsin Namgail, son of Tashi Tundup of Leh, Tsewang Namgail son of Phuntsog Dorjay of Leh, Sunil Yadav, son of Vikram Bahadur of Bihar, Bullet Kumar, son of Ganga Ram of Bihar, Prabha Chauhan, son of Ram Iqbal Parsad of Bihar, Arun Prasad, son of Jodha Bhagat of Bihar, Sunil, son of Vikram Yadav of Bihar, Sushit, son of Rajinder Yadav of Bihar, Mohan Lal, son of Viswanath Yadav of Bihar, Kamal Yadav, son of Ramanyan Yadav of Bihar, Shamboo Yadav, son of Soyhaban Yadav of Bihar, Yashpal of Samba, Raju, Paryrash Yadav, son of Vikram Yadav of Bihar, Chain Singh, son of Suman Singh of Udhampur, Surendar Kumar, son of Ham Raj of Punjab, Rinchen Norbo, son of Lobzang Jampal of Leh, Ud Bahalas of Nepal, Dharam Dass, Kamla of Nepal, Bir Bhadur of Nepal, Bharat of Nephal, Bhadi Ram of Nepal, Bis Bhadur of Nepal, Pushkar of Nepal, Zakir Hussain of Kargil, Padma Rigzin of Leh, Abdul Hussain of Kolkata WB, Skarma Tsultim of Leh, Tsering Chosdon of Hemya, Baby Tsering of Hemya, Bharat Bushan, Tsering Yangdol of Leh, Lobzang Dolma, Ishey Dorjay of Leh, Tsering Lamo of Leh, Rinchen Zangmo of Leh, Jigvar of Leh, Tsewang Paljor of Leh, Sonam Angchuk, Rigzin Angmo of Kargil, Sama Pujhar, Umesh, Nessam, Rigszin Namgyal of Leh, Rinchen Zangmo, Morupm Gurmet of Leh, Youdol Lamo of Kargil, Konchok Dolma of Leh, Maya of Nepal, Thukjsay Palmo of Leh, Konchok Dorjay of Leh, Thinless Wangyal of Leh, Jagdish of Udhampur, Phunchok Angchuk of Leh, Stanzin Nordan of Nubra, Tashi Wangyal of Alchi, Akbar Peer of Chhuchot, Skarma Chuskit of Chhuchot, Stanzin Angmo of Chhuchot, Ravi Kumar of Nepal, Vijay Rai of Nepal, Jangh Bhadur of Nepal, Anita of Nepal, Tsering Angchuk of Liker,Yashpal of Samb


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