India and Pakistan battle to rescue flood marooned

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Media captionAndrew North joins rescue workers in Pakistan's Punjab province

Rescue teams are battling to retrieve hundreds of thousands of people stranded by damaging floods in India and Pakistan.

The province of Punjab, where rivers are bursting their banks, is the worst-hit area in Pakistan.

In Indian-administered Kashmir, the capital Srinagar is submerged with many residents waiting for rescue on rooftops.

One week of flooding has left at least 280 people dead in both countries.

Army and air force troops worked overnight to rescue marooned residents, officials in Indian-administered Kashmir said.

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Media captionFootage from around Punjab on Monday shows rescues from the water

Helicopters and planes were deployed to air lift residents out of areas where the force of flood waters knocked down buildings, bridges and cut off communication links, media reports say.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described the flooding as "a national disaster."

Evacuation orders

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Media captionSeveral bridges have been washed away as Sanjoy Majumder reports

In Pakistan, vast numbers of people have been displaced and thousands of homes were damaged. Large swathes of farmland have also been left devastated.

The Chenab river rose dramatically causing what has been described as a "superflood", which washed away houses and livestock across 600 villages in the Gujranwala and Sialkot regions on Sunday.

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Image caption Flood waters stormed past and submerged temples in the Jammu area
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The city of Lahore was flooded after heavy rains

Many stories of loss and devastation to the poor communities living in affected areas have been reported.

At the scene: Shumaila Jaffrey, BBC News, Lahore

It is almost two days since the rain stopped but some areas of Lahore are still underwater.

There is a shortage of food and clean drinking water in these areas. Women complained about shortage of milk for their babies.

People are using boats to commute now they are cut off from the rest of the city. Children were running through the floods chasing after boats carrying food.

Some asked aid workers for sweets.

People complained about lack of government interest in relief efforts.

The Express Tribune newspaper visited Rawalpindi's Sharoon Colony where hundreds of homes were submerged: one resident saw his home swept away with the furniture lying in a nearby pond.

Another, a taxi-driver, lost his taxi and "only source of income" in the floods.

Evacuation orders have now been issued to many communities living on river flood plains in the centre of Punjab.

There are fears that heavy rains and flooding could spread south to Pakistan's Sindh province over the next week.

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