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Bodies recovered amid Kashmir flood

Rescuers have recovered 16 bodies from two houses hit by rain-triggered landslides in the Himalayan region of Kashmir, following its second major floods in six months.

Elsewhere in India, fierce rain and lightning toppled houses and trees in Bihar state, killing 20 others.

Police and volunteers worked around the clock to clear the debris in Laden village in Kashmir's Budgam district, police Superintendent Fayaz Ahmed said.

In eastern India, the Bihar state government said strong winds uprooted trees and many houses collapsed in the state capital, Patna, and in Purnia and Katihar districts.

Floodwaters were receding in Kashmir, but residents of the main city Srinagar were bracing for more trouble after predictions of additional rain in the next few days.

Rains over the weekend were the worst since the region was hit by floods last September that destroyed thousands of homes and 17 billion US dollars (£11 billion) worth of infrastructure.

Many rivers in Kashmir were above their danger levels. Hundreds of people were staying in relief camps after the state government ordered them to leave low-lying areas.

Many faulted the government for failing to anticipate last year's flooding and taking too long to respond.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dispatched a special team to assess the needs from the current floods and get relief efforts moving.

On the Pakistani side of the border, which was hit worse by last year's flooding, authorities said the situation was improving, although the Neelum and Jhelum Rivers were perilously close to overflowing their banks.

"Both the rivers are still swollen," said Akram Sohail, an official with the government disaster management department in the Pakistan-controlled portion of Kashmir.

Heavy downpours over the past three days damaged several roads and disrupted transport, he said.

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