The torrential rains that have inundated the Himalayan region of Kashmir and eastern Pakistan for the last six days have now stopped, but the destruction is not over yet: More than 320 people are dead, and thousands more are trapped in their homes, the Associated Press reports.
Senior Indian army official D.S. Hooda told the AP that the Kashmir valley — a long-disputed region claimed by both India and Pakistan — is still facing critical danger. “Our focus remains to rescue people who are stranded in their houses, and provide them some basic necessities,” he said.
The Indian and Pakistani governments seem to be dividing relief efforts based on which country occupies certain areas in Kashmir, though both Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have said they are willing to provide humanitarian assistance in areas controlled by the other if needed.
The torrential monsoon rains began Wednesday evening, leading to flooding and landslides across the Kashmir Valley. The flooding was particularly bad in Srinagar, the summer capital of Kashmir, as these Associated Press photos show. Srinagar has a population of about 1.2 million.
As the days passed, residents began to evacuate to safer areas. More than 5,200 people have so far been rescued in the India-controlled region of Kashmir, the Associated Press reported, however Al Jazeera noted that rescue efforts were being “hampered by a shortage of rescue boats and fast-moving floodwaters that submerged large parts” of Srinagar.
Kashmiris have also taken to social media in the wake of the storm to coordinate relief efforts themselves.
Indian officials told the AP that at least 450 villages in its portion of Kashmir had been submerged, and that at least 2,000 others had been affected by rising waters. Many have called the floods the worst to hit the region in at least 50 years.
Scientists say climate change makes precipitation events more extreme, and increases the likelihood that extreme precipitation events will occur in some areas of the world.
That finding has been confirmed by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center, the National Climate Assessment, and multiple peer-reviewed scientific papers.