At least 16 people have died, 35 have been injured and 40 are still missing, after a shrine located in the holy cave of Amarnath in the Jammu and Kashmir region of northern India was flooded last Friday due to heavy rains.
Rescue operations have recovered several bodies, bringing the death toll in the Amarnath accident to 16 people, the ‘Kashmir Reader’ newspaper reported on Saturday night.
So far, only five of the deceased have been identified, while work continues to determine the identities of the others.
For their part, the injured were evacuated to different hospitals, where they are receiving treatment. “All are stable,” said Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar, in statements reported by the newspaper.
Rescue operations are still underway by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). At least six teams are involved in the ongoing operation, according to ‘India’ media.
Initial reports suggested that a violent downpour began to fall on Friday at the Baltal base camp, so it would have also washed away the said camp that had been set up outside the shrine, which is believed to be about 5,000 years old and holds a privileged space within ancient Hindu mythology.
The pilgrimage to this shrine began on June 30, after two years interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this week it had to be suspended due to bad weather. It is estimated that more than 72,000 pilgrims will travel to the site until August 11, when the event culminates.