Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? My reports this month are going to focus on various natural disasters and how to be ready to weather the storms. This week – monsoons!
Five days of heavy and unrelenting monsoon rains in the Kashmir regions of northern India and Pakistan have killed over 120 in India and 160 in Pakistan in landslides and flash floods. In India, 450 villages are submerged and 2,000 others have been affected, while in Pakistan the floods have hit at least 286 villages and collapsed over 4,000 homes. Rescuers in both countries are attempting to reach thousands of stranded citizens, though their efforts are being hampered by fast-moving floodwaters. For example, even though the rains had stopped on Sunday, the overflow from the Jhulem River was moving too quickly to allow boats to reach those in need. In Srinagar, a major city in Indian-controlled Kashmir, the floodwaters were 12 feet deep, with entire houses completely under water. Even the state’s maternity hospital was flooding, forcing patients and staff to flee to higher floors of the building. The Indian Prime Minister has described the situation as a “national level disaster.”