SRINAGAR: Sixty-five people were killed after heavy rains caused flash floods in Kashmir, including a wedding party on a bus that was swept away, officials said yesterday.
Authorities declared a disaster alert in the northern region after two days of heavy rain hit villages across the Kashmir valley, causing the worst flooding in two decades.
“At least 40 members of a marriage party are feared dead when their bus was washed away due to flash floods,” senior police superintendent Mubassir Latifi said.
The bus accident occurred in Rajouri, 170km south of the region’s main city of Srinagar. Latifi, who was monitoring the rescue operation, said five passengers had swum to safety.
“The administration has a rescue team and helicopters ready to evacuate villagers and move them to safer ground, but heavy rain is making the rescue process very difficult,” he said.
Heavy rain is expected for the next 48 hours. The state’s main river, the Jhelum, and its tributaries are flowing several feet above the danger mark. The river flows into the Pakistani side of the disputed region. At least 15 people, including a border guard, were killed in separate rain-related incidents. All schools and colleges were closed and exams postponed.