Thousands rescued at flood-hit Hindu pilgrimage in Kashmir, at least 16 dead

Rescuers carry a victim following a cloudburst near the holy Amarnath cave shrine in Kashmir July 9, 2022. (Reuters)

Emergency workers rescued thousands of pilgrims after flash floods triggered by sudden rains swept through their makeshift camps during an annual Hindu pilgrimage to an icy Himalayan cave in Indian-controlled Kashmir, officials said Saturday.

At least 16 people have died and dozens were injured.

Authorities suspended the pilgrimage for two days as rains continued to lash the region. Teams of rescuers combed through the slippery mountain tracks and used sniffer dogs and through-the-wall radars to locate dozens of missing amid inclement weather. Civilian and military helicopters evacuated the injured to hospitals.

The heavy rain Friday evening near the mountain cave revered by Hindus sent a wall of water and boulders down a gorge and carried away about two dozen camps and two makeshift kitchens, officials said. Thousands of people were in the mountains when the rains struck.

Officials said about 15,000 devotees were moved to safer locations and at least five dozen injured were administered first aid at base camp hospitals set up for the pilgrimage, which is undertaken by hundreds of thousands of Hindus from across India.

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