Pakistan, Kashmir flooding kills dozens
Heavy rains may ease Friday, according to forecast
The death toll from severe flooding in Indian-controlled Kashmir has risen to at least 28, as authorities Friday asked for help from federal rescue officials as relentless rains continue to lash much of the Himalayan region, forcing thousands to abandon their homes in search of shelter.
Meanwhile, heavy monsoon rains killed 40 people across Pakistan.
Officials in Kashmir said that the death toll from flooding and landslides caused by for four days of rain included two bodies recovered after a bus carrying more than 50 members of a wedding party that was swept away into a stream Thursday. Four passengers managed to swam to safety and rescue workers are searching for the others.
The local meteorological office said the heavy rains may ease later Friday.
At least 100 villages flooded
The Himalayan region has been hit by its worst monsoon flooding in more than two decades. Power and telephone links have been snapped in many areas and supplies of clean drinking water have been hit, officials said.
Soldiers and rescue workers used boats to move thousands of people to higher ground. The public address systems in local mosques were used to warn people in the worst-hit neighbourhoods to move to safety. Officials said at least 100 villages across the Kashmir valley were flooded by overflowing lakes and rivers, including Jhelum river, which was up to two metres above its danger level.
Parts of the main city of Srinagar were also flooded.
At least 300 rescuers, with boats and sophisticated search equipment, from the National Disaster Response Force had arrived in the region, according to Rohit Kansal, a civilian official.
The state government has also started setting up rescue shelters and has set aside 200 million rupees ($3.3 million US) for relief and rescue efforts, a press release said.
Landslides and floods are common in India during the monsoon season, which runs from June through September. More than 100 people died after a massive landslide hit a village near Pune, a city in western India, recently.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both. They have fought three wars, two of them over control of Kashmir, since winning independence from Britain in 1947.
Roofs collapse in Lahore
Pakistan's meteorological service warned of more flash flooding over the weekend.
In the eastern city of Lahore, 13 people died when roofs collapsed there on Thursday, said Ahmad Kamal, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Authority.
Heavy rains also lashed the capital, Islamabad, where thousands of opposition supporters have camped outside the parliament for weeks, demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resign over alleged voting fraud.
The protesters used makeshift tents made from plastic sheets to shelter themselves from the rains.
In 2010, flash floods killed 1,700 people in Pakistan.