At least six people were killed and more than 26 others went missing after flash floods triggered by a cloudburst lashed a remote hamlet in the northern Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir in the early hours of Wednesday.
The cloudburst -- a sudden aggressive rainstorm limited to an area -- occurred in Honzar village in the federal government-controlled territory's hilly Kishtwar district, when most of the victims were fast asleep in their houses.
Officials said at least eight to 10 houses in the village were swept away by the flash floods. "Six bodies have been recovered so far," Kishtwar deputy commissioner Ashok Kumar Sharma told the local media. "Some 12 people have been rescued and admitted to hospitals."
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the federal government would extend all possible help to the affected people.
"The Central Government is closely monitoring the situation in the wake of the cloudbursts in Kishtwar and Kargil. All possible assistance is being made available in the affected areas. I pray for everyone’s safety and well-being," Modi tweeted.
Federal Minister Jitendra Singh said that the Indian Air Force was asked to join the rescue operations.
"Following cloudburst in Dachhan region, 30 to 40 persons missing... Air Force authorities contacted for lifting the injured as and when required.Keeping close track of the situation. Every kind of further help will be provided as per requirement," he tweeted in the morning.
The northern Indian territory has been experiencing heavy monsoon rains for the past three days.
"The meteorological department has predicted heavy rains during the upcoming days and water levels in rivers and nallas (streams) are expected to rise, which can pose a threat to the inhabitants residing near rivers, nallas, water bodies and slide-prone areas," the district administration said in an advisory on Tuesday night.