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Ladakh may be the worst possible place for a flood

Photographer Steve Davey left Ladakh just as the unprecedented wet weather was closing in


The Himalayan region of Ladakh in northern India seldom gets much rain, so it’s not set up to cope with the effects of the recent heavy rainfall. Much of the old town of Leh is made of ramshackle, historic, mud brick buildings and many of these are on or at the foot of steep hillsides. If there is a heavy run-off from the rain, these structures would simply not survive.

When we were there, the temperature in Delhi was around 40°c, but there was still snow on the top of some of the passes. Anyone stuck up there in a vehicle overnight would be at serious risk of freezing if they were not well prepared.

We had an adventurous and somewhat arduous journey ourselves, crossing the border into neighbouring Himachal Pradesh to get to Manali. With the heavy monsoon rain that has hit since then, the situation will have got much much worse.

Communication in the Himalayan region of Ladakh is difficult at the best of times. For security reasons, international roaming is not allowed on mobile phones. Even pre-pay Sim cards from the rest of India will not work.

Satellite phones are also banned without a special licence. While we were there, the broadband internet link with the rest of India was down for a couple of days, and only a few internet cafes with satellite connections were working – which makes simply staying in contact a challenge.

Steve Davey leads his own exclusive range of travel photography tours, Better Travel Photography, with land arrangements by Intrepid Travel

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