Torrential rains kill more than 200 in Pakistan, India

Torrential rains kill more than 200 in Pakistan, India
Pakistani youths play in a flooded street during monsoon rain in Lahore on Sept 5, 2014.

SRINAGAR, India - More than 200 people in Pakistan and northern India have been killed in torrential monsoon rains that triggered flooding, landslides and house collapses, officials in the two countries said on Saturday.

Troops and other emergency personnel were deployed in both countries to help with relief operations, with boats and helicopters being used to reach stranded people.

Incessant rains in Pakistan have killed at least 106 people over the past three days and damaged thousands of houses, officials said as the authorities put four districts on red alert for floods.

And in neighbouring India, torrential rains and flooding have left more than 100 people dead and marooned thousands more, according to officials.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired a high-level review meeting on Saturday and ordered acceleration of relief and rescue efforts in the country, his office said.

In worst-hit Punjab province, the death toll from rains and flooding over the past three days hit 55 while 235 people were injured, rescue services director general Rizwan Naseer, told AFP.

Another 48 people have died in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, said Mr Akram Sohail, chairman of the disaster management agency in capital Muzaffarabad.

Three soldiers also were killed in a mudslide on Thursday near the de-facto border with India, known as the Line of Control dividing disputed Pakistani- and Indian-administered Kashmir.

Pakistan has been swept by deadly monsoon floods for the last four years - in 2013, 178 people were killed and around 1.5 million affected by flooding around the country.

Rescue workers struggled to reach remote mountain villages in Pakistan's scenic Neelum valley along the Line of Control but landslides hampered efforts.

"The landslides caused by rains have damaged 4,000 houses in Kashmir - more than half have been destroyed," Sohail said.

Hardest hit on the Indian side was Indian Kashmir, where the heaviest rains and flooding in at least half a century have claimed at least 86 lives since last Tuesday.

"The floods have caused a lot of damage," Indian Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh said after being driven around Kashmir's main city, Srinagar, by state Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

"If this is the condition of city, what will be the situation in rural areas?" Mr Singh asked.

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