Friday, July 23, 1999 Published at 16:09 GMT 17:09 UK
World: South Asia
Winter worries for Kashmir civilians
A bombed out hospital in Drass
The BBC's Daniel Lak reports from Kargil
As the last Pakistan-backed forces withdraw from Indian territory along the Line of Control that divides the disputed region of Kashmir, attention is now turning to the impact of the war on an already poor and underdeveloped civilian population.
At the military post office in Kargil, 11,000 letters are stamped and franked every day.
For weeks, they were writing of war, fallen comrades and hardship. But now, say the military postmen here, the letters home tell of the guns falling silent.
Brigadier Ashok Duggal, the deputy commanding officer of the Kargil garrison, says there is an air of tranquillity in the region.
"Things are fast returning to normality. I am given to understand that quite a few civilians who had to go away from here are returning," he said.
Not all those civilians share the brigadier's optimism.
It is threshing time for an extended family in upper Kargil, and the air swirls with chaff blown out by a mechanical thresher.
"Shells used to crash down all around us. We had to hide in bunkers at our house until it stopped.
"Now it looks like we have a chance to finish the harvest," he said.
There is no accurate count yet of just how many here need emergency aid, but organisations like the Delhi-based Insaniyat - Hindi for humanity - have begun distributing food and warm clothing collected from donors outside Kashmir.
The effort now is to get people to return home, according to the head of Insaniyat, Dr Naresh Trehan.
"We assured them they should go back to their villages. We will collect the supplies and supply them directly to the villages," he said.
The villagers waiting to get blankets, rice, flour and oil are desperately poor at the best of times. Now they face the prospect of a hungry winter because they have missed the chance to get their crops into the ground in time for the harvest.
The departing helicopters and truck convoys of the Indian armed forces go home amid a feeling of victory, a job well done evicting intruders from across the Line of Control.
But a few months away from Kargil's unbelievably harsh winter, it is clear that the battle to rebuild shattered lives and avoid hunger and disease will be an even greater challenge for India.