India and Pakistan floods: Death toll rises

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The death toll from floods in India and Pakistan has passed 375 as authorities continue efforts to rescue hundreds of thousands of stranded people.

More than 200 people are now thought to have died in Pakistan, where flood waters have destroyed thousands of homes and large areas of farmland.

In Indian-administered Kashmir some 175 people have been killed, many of them swept away by surging rivers.

Leaders of both countries have offered to help each other provide relief.

Over the weekend Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote to his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, offering help to flood-hit victims on that side of the border.

Late on Monday, Mr Sharif thanked Mr Modi for his offer and said Pakistan was “prepared to extend a helping hand, in whatever way possible”.

Correspondents say it is unlikely that either side will accept the other’s offer of help, given that Kashmir is one of the most heavily militarised regions in the world.

Meanwhile, authorities in both countries are engaged in relief operations. In Pakistan, officials said most of those killed were in Punjab province.

Landslides have damaged roads and power lines, leaving many people without electricity and drinking water in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Flood waters submerged homes after the Chenab river rose dramatically over the weekend, causing what has been described as a “superflood”.

The biggest concern now is of a new flood caused by a surge of water flowing from across the border in India, says the BBC’s Andrew North in Jammu.

In Indian-administered Kashmir, rescue workers are intensifying efforts to reach people stranded after the worst floods there in half a century.

With road and communication links broken getting to those stranded in remote areas is proving to be a stiff challenge.

The Indian army and air force are using helicopters to drop relief supplies and evacuate as many people as they can. Naval commandos have also been deployed to rescue survivors.

The rain has eased off but many parts of the state are still inaccessible – large areas in the state capital Srinagar remain under water.

“It is our idea to get them [people stranded in Srinagar and southern Kashmir] out as soon as possible. We will continue… until everyone is pulled out of this situation,” senior army official Gen DS Hooda said.

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