Pakistan says cross-border Indian fire kills 2 women

File photo: A Pakistani woman gestures beneath the damaged roof of her house, allegedly caused by shells fired by Indian troops, at the Dhamala border village near the eastern city of Sialkot in Punjab province. (AFP)
Updated 18 January 2018
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Pakistan says cross-border Indian fire kills 2 women

ISLAMABAD: “Indiscriminate and unprovoked” cross-border shelling from India killed two women and wounded five people, including three women, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Faisal said on Thursday.

Islamabad summoned New Delhi’s deputy high commissioner for the second time in less than a week over “ceasefire violations” by Indian troops.

“In 2018, Indian forces have carried out more than 110 ceasefire violations… in just 18 days, resulting in the killing of three innocent civilians while injuring 10 others,” Faisal said.

On Monday, Pakistan’s military said cross-border fire by Indian forces killed four soldiers in the disputed Kashmir region.

Meanwhile, Islamabad on Wednesday refuted media reports of proposed contact between both countries’ director generals of military operations (DGMO) to reduce border tensions.

“No meeting of DGMOs of Pakistan and India is being considered as of now... The news is baseless and misleading,” Pakistan’s Defense Ministry said.


Flood death toll in India’s Kerala jumps to 164

Updated 12 min 50 sec ago
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Flood death toll in India’s Kerala jumps to 164

  • More than 10,000 kilometers of roads and hundreds of homes have been destroyed or damaged across the state
  • A heavy rainfall “red-alert” has been issued across much of the state, which is home to around 33 million people

KOCHI: The death toll from major floods in India’s tourist hotspot Kerala has jumped to 164, state chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Friday, issuing a fresh heavy rainfall warning for the battered region.

Kerala’s government has described the crisis — one of the worst in decades — as “extremely grave” and rescue operations are underway to help thousands who remain trapped by floodwaters.

“The chief minister has confirmed 164 deaths. Around 100 people died in the last 36 hours alone,” an official in the Kerala government’s public relations department said.

Local reports indicated an even higher toll with thousands still waiting for relief and rescue across the flood-ravaged state.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that he had discussed the flood situation with Vijayan as more troops and rescue workers were deployed across Kerala.

“Later this evening, I will be heading to Kerala to take stock of the unfortunate situation,” Modi said on Twitter.

The state, famed for its palm-lined beaches and tea plantations, is always pummeled by the annual monsoon but this year’s damage has been the most severe in almost a century.

More than 150,000 people made homeless across the state have moved into some 1,300 relief camps.

Vijayan’s office Friday posted a fresh warning for around 33 million residents of Kerala.

“Alert: all districts apart from Kasargod are under red alert... heavy rains may affect these 13 districts. Everyone please be cautious,” his office tweeted.

Even before the latest warning, locals like Ajo Varghese have been posting desperate appeals for relief and rescue on social media.

“My family and neighboring families are in trouble with flood in Pandanad nakkada area in Alappuzha,” Varghese said in a viral Facebook post.

“No water and food. Not able to communicate from afternoon. Mobile phones are not reachable and switch off. Please help... No rescue is available,” he added.

A state official said that apart from the new rainfall warnings, a breakdown of the local communication system was making it difficult for them to reach local people who may be in urgent need in the worst-affected areas.

The government says 10,000 kilometers (6,000 miles) of Kerala roads have been destroyed or damaged and tens of thousands of homes partially or completely damaged.

The gates of at least 34 major dams and reservoirs across the state have been opened in the last few days as water levels reached danger levels.

North and central Kerala has been worst-hit by the floods with the international airport in main city of Kochi shut until at least August 26.