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Monsoon overwhelms Kashmir

Kashmir was this week reeling from severe damage to infrastructure, similar to Pakistan, following floods caused by monsoon downpours.

Roads have been flooded and blocked by landslides, and power and telecommunication towers have been toppled. Airports and highways have also sustained damage.

In Ladakh, one of the most sparsely populated regions of the Indian administered state of Jammu and Kashmir, isolated villages were cut off when roads were blocked by the effects of the floods. The police and military have deployed thousands of people to clear the roads to reinstate access, said state police chief Kuldeep Khoda.

Around 5,000 people are understood to be stranded in the village of Choglamsar because of mudslides up to 4.6m high blocking the road.

Social activist Mohammed Deen Khan said authorities were facing a shortage of bulldozers and heavy earthmovers to clear the debris.

The Druk White Lotus School in Ladakh, designed by Arup and with construction work to add a senior school to the existing buildings ongoing, has been hit by mudslides swamping classrooms by up to 1.5m.

Arup said the buildings withstood the mudslide and all 200 residential children were evacuated to nearby high ground. Internal walls and floors were damaged and will need to be replaced along with equipment and furniture.

Staff and volunteers have begun clean up and relief work at the school.

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