Prime Minister instructed redoubling of relief efforts

Union Ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad, Farooq Abdullah and Prithvi Raj Chauhan on Saturday flew into Leh to oversee the rescue operations launched there following Friday's flash floods, which have claimed 130 lives so far.

On the directions of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Ministers arrived here accompanied by a team of doctors and disaster management experts. They visited hospitals, relief camps and the affected areas, and took stock of the situation.

The Ministers directed the administration to keep up the efforts to rescue the trapped people.

After talking to the injured in a hospital, Mr. Azad said their treatment should be the top priority.

“We have airlifted a lot of medicines and other relief materials and the Indian Red Cross Secretary is with me, besides a team of doctors,” he said, adding that medicine and other relief materials were being airlifted from Srinagar and Delhi.

“We are looking at the requirements since the hospital has been damaged here.” However, Mr. Azad said the damage to infrastructure could be addressed only after a few weeks.

He assured the people of Leh that all help would be extended to them in this hour of difficulty.

People's efforts lauded

Dr. Abdullah lauded the efforts of the people, the civil administration and the Army in being one at this time of tragedy.

“The task of restoring normality is daunting but all are doing their job,” he said, adding that the Prime Minister had instructed them to ensure that relief efforts were redoubled.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Prithvi Raj Chauhan said the priority was to restore basic facilities like the telephone services of BSNL, out of order as the infrastructure is damaged.

“I am also here to mobilise my party workers to be part of rescue work,” he said.

Jammu and Kashnir Tourism Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora, who is camping in Leh, also accompanied the Ministers whose presence boosted the morale of the affected people.

Earlier on Friday, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah reviewed the situation in person, announcing a relief package of Rs. 5 crore for the injured and families of those dead.

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