ACT Alliance responds to flash floods in India

By agency reporter
August 18, 2010

The Action of Churches Together (ACT) Alliance has made a global appeal for assistance to people affected by flash floods and Landslides in India.

The town of Leh in Ladakh, in northeastern Jammu and Kashmir state, experienced deadly flash floods caused by a cloudburst lasting several hours on 6 August 2010. This in turn triggered raging floods and landslides.

Hundreds of homes were destroyed and people marooned, says ACT. More than 200 mud-built houses were washed away. The district hospital is submerged and the radio station damaged. Electricity cables and telecommunication pylons have been damaged or washed away. Assistance is now urgently needed, the development alliance confirms.

The affected area stretches from the village of Phayang on the Rohtang-Leh highway to Nimoo on the Leh-Srinagar highway (a distance of more than 150 km). Five villages were severely affected in the sudden downpour and flash floods, including Choglumsar and Shapoo. Leh town was among the worst-hit areas.

Leh has a population of 117,000, most of whom are taking shelter in the higher mountains around them. Over 200 people are still reported to be missing from the worst-hit village of Choglumsar, where nearly all homes were washed away. Phayang was also badly hit and is completely submerged. Phayang had a population of around 700 Muslim and Buddhist families before the disaster, of which six families are missing and presumed drowned.

Official figures report a death toll so far of around 200, though it is feared this could reach over 500. Around 600 people are reported missing, and at least 350 injured are being treated in an army hospital. Many more people are trapped under collapsed houses and buildings.

ACT Alliance members, Church's Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) and the Lutheran World Federation/Lutheran World Service India Trust (LWF/LWSIT) are responding to this emergency. Their response aims to mitigate the effects of the flash floods by providing life-saving and life-sustaining assistance to approximately 20,000 affected families.

The ACT Secretariat says it expects to receive elaborated and revised proposals for this response by 26 August 2010, following further in-depth assessments. This will include further proposed recovery assistance and will take account of actual and potential funding contributions as indicated by ACT members and other supporters around the world.

The full ACT report on the Indian flash floods and the response can be read here (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat file) -

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