A tractor evacuating Kashmiri flood victims to higher grounds travels through a flooded street in Srinagar
A tractor evacuating Kashmiri flood victims to higher grounds travels through a flooded street in Srinagar September 9, 2014.  Adnan Abidi—Reuters

Hundreds Now Dead in India, Pakistan Floods as Rescue Efforts Slammed

Sep 10, 2014

Updated: 3:06 a.m. EST

A Pakistani Army soldier distributes food bags in flooded areas in Shujabad, on the outskirts of Multan, Pakistan, Sept. 15, 2014.
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A Pakistani Army soldier distributes food bags in flooded areas in Shujabad, on the outskirts of Multan, Pakistan, Sept. 15, 2014.Omer Saleem—EPA
A Pakistani Army soldier distributes food bags in flooded areas in Shujabad, on the outskirts of Multan, Pakistan, Sept. 15, 2014.
Kashmiri flood victims wade through receding flood waters as they walk back after collecting relief material in village Teing near Srinagar, India, Sept. 14, 2014.
A Kashmiri flood victim walks carrying a sack containing relief material in village Teing near Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Sept. 14, 2014.
Indian army soldiers evacuate flood victims by a boat to a safer place in Srinagar, Sept. 13, 2014.
A Kashmiri flood victim stretches out his hand to receive bottled water distributed by policemen in Srinagar, India, Sept. 13, 2014.
An aerial view shows houses surrounded by flood waters in district Multan, Pakistan, Sept. 12, 2014.
Flood victims run to collect food packages and relief materials dropped from an Indian Air Force helicopter in Srinagar, Sept. 11, 2014.
Tourists wait to be evacuated by Indian Air Force helicopters during rescue and relief operations following flooding in Srinagar on Sept. 10, 2014.
Flood victims are evacuated by boat from their flooded house in Srinagar, Sept. 10, 2014.
Pakistani villagers wait for boats to evacuate flooded areas along the Chenab River, in Jhang, Pakistan,Sept. 10, 2014.
Army soldiers unload boats to be used for evacuating flood victims from their flooded houses following heavy rain in Jhang, Punjab province, Pakistan, Sept. 10, 2014.
A girl from a flood-affected area watches a military chopper (not pictured) from inside an Indian Army tent at a relief camp on the outskirts of Jammu, Sept. 10, 2014.
A Kashmiri woman is airlifted from the roof of a of a five-story hotel, four of which are submerged in floodwaters, in Srinagar, India, Sept. 9, 2014.
An aerial view shows buildings submerged in floodwaters in Srinagar, in Indian Kashmir, Sept. 9, 2014.
A Pakistani woman carries a rubber ring as she stands beside a flooded field following heavy rain in Cheniot, Punjab Province, Sept. 9, 2014.
An Indian Kashmiri man crosses over flood waters with the use of a rope in Srinagar on Sept. 9, 2014.
Pakistani volunteers rescue villagers in Chiniot, 100 miles northwest of Lahore, Pakistan, Sept. 9, 2014.
An Indian Air Force helicopter rescues a Kashmiri resident from a house submerged by floodwater during rescue and relief efforts in Srinagar on Sept. 9, 2014.
Kashmiris hang on to a tree to prevent being swept away by floodwaters in Srinagar, India, Sept. 9, 2014.
Indian soldiers carry a rescued flood victim at the Air Force Station in Srinagar, India, Sept. 9, 2014.
A Pakistani Army soldier distributes food bags in flooded areas in Shujabad, on the outskirts of Multan, Pakistan, Sept. 15, 2014.
Omer Saleem—EPA
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The devastating floods resulting from Kashmir’s worst rains in half a century claimed more lives on Tuesday, with the total death toll now breaching 400 and local people decrying officials for failing to adequately deal with the catastrophe.

Several thousand people are still trapped on rooftops in the restive Himalayan region waiting to be rescued, reports Reuters, and local residents have criticized both the Indian and Pakistani authorities for a lackluster response to the crisis. Indian news channel NDTV reported that some rescue workers were even attacked by furious locals.

Although India’s metrological department had forecast heavy rains in Kashmir last week, the Central Water Commission in charge of issuing flood advisories apparently did not warn the local authorities.

“We were all caught off guard because there was not a single warning issued by the weather office. The flash floods took us by surprise,” an official from India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) told Reuters in New Delhi on the condition of anonymity.

Mohammad Irfan Dar, a New Delhi-based independent filmmaker who originally hails from Srinagar, tells TIME that efforts to organize private relief donations have been thwarted by the authorities.

"In Delhi, most of us are focused on raising awareness, organizing relief and gathering supplies," he said. "The biggest challenge we are facing is the lack of communication from the state."

Dar's says he knows of between 300 and 500 relief volunteers across the Indian capital, some of whom have been dispatched to Kashmir to coordinate efforts there. Air India has offered to take essential supplies for free but only has limited capacity. "Drinking water, especially, is a huge problem right now," he adds.

India's armed forces and the NDRF have commissioned 61 aircraft and helicopters along with 170 boats, 40 of which were flown to the affected area on Tuesday. Across the border, the Pakistani army and navy have 12 helicopters and more than 250 boats performing rescue and relief operations, according to local newspaper Dawn.

At least 217 Indians have been killed and more than 47,000 evacuated, say officials, while the Pakistani authorities report at least 231 fatalities.

Srinagar, the capital of both Kashmir and the north Indian state of Jammu, remains mostly submerged along with over 2,000 surrounding villages, although the Times of India has reported a few breakthroughs, such as the restoration of landline communications near the city's airport and the clearing of the first road link since the floods began.

Several people are rescued from the high floodwaters in Srinagar, northern India.

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