The devastating floods that hit the state earlier this month has left around 248 persons dead including 25 from Srinagar city.
Official sources told Greater Kashmir that 25 deaths have been reported in Srinagar and there were possibilities of more fatalities as most parts of the summer capital were still inundated.
“There are unconfirmed reports that 2 to 3 more bodies have been retrieved today in the city,” they disclosed. The low lying areas in the city including Jawahar Nagar, Raj Bagh, Bemina, and commercial hub Lal Chowk are still submerged as government has failed to de-water them even as 10 days have passed after the floods hit the city.
Nine deaths, according to the sources, have been reported in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, eight in Islamabad (Anantnag) district, six in Budgam, four in Pulwama, two each in Shopain , Ganderbal and Kupwara districts. “The deaths in peripheral areas of Kashmir include those caused by landslides triggered by the floods,” they said.
On Monday, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had put the death toll due to drowning in Kashmir at 30. In Jammu province, according to official sources, the fatalities have gone up to 190.
The Pirpanchal region has suffered maximum causalities with 93 deaths reported alone in Rajouri.
In Udhampur, 35 deaths have been reported followed by Poonch with 27 causalities, Reasi (18 deaths), Jammu (10 deaths), and two deaths each in Ramban, Kathua and Kishtwar and one death in Doda.
“Besides, six persons are reportedly missing in the region,” official sources revealed. Meanwhile as the water level is gradually receding in some flood hit areas, life has started limping back to normalcy.
The Vehicular Traffic to Kashmir has been restored through three national highways of Mughal Road,
Srinagar-Jammu and Kishtwar-Sinthan link, facilitating the resumption of supplies at a massive scale. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who according to an official statement, is closely monitoring the situation has stressed on providing immediate succor to flood affected people.
Omar, while heading a high level meeting, was told that the flood water in many Srinagar localities is being drained into natural channels through high volume suction pumps and cuts which is followed by massive cleaning up drive.
Omar was told that water supply has been restored in South Kashmir towns of Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam while as it has been partially restored in Pampore. The statement said that have been pressed into service in Kupwara and Sopore areas in North Kashmir where PHE schemes have been badly hit.
The meeting was informed that 99 truckloads of relief material have been dispatched from Srinagar Airport yesterday besides 50 truck of ration have been pushed into Srinagar by CAPD department and 70 truck loads are expected to be sent today. Similarly 69 truckloads of ration have been sent to Baramulla, Budgam and Pulwama districts yesterday.
Fear of dead bodies keeps people away from Jawahar Nagar
Locals complain of tardy dewatering
Fear of bodies lying trapped inside the flood hit houses in Jawahar Nagar is keeping people away from moving inside the locality.
A senior police official said 19 bodies have been removed from Jawahar Nagar and Raj Bagh so far after the flood devastated the summer capital on September 7. “Eight of the deceased including five children belonged to a non-local family from Bihar,” said the police official.
At Ram Bagh-Jawahar Nagar bund young boys and their parents wait anxiously for water level to recede. Though eager to go inside the locality to have a look of their house the fear that some people might have died and got trapped in the submerged houses was preventing them from moving inside. Most young boys from Jawahar Nagar locality have seen bodies being removed from the collapsed houses. Shakir Hussain, a local, while pointing towards the main road cutting through Jawahar Nagar said two more bodies of the non-local family were recovered today and handed over to the only survivor of the family for performing last rites. “There is fear among people and they want the authorities to dewater the area completely and remove dead bodies, if any,” Hussain said.
Jawahar Nagar, a low lying area along with Raj Bagh, is situated on the banks of the flood spill channel which cuts through the heart of the city. Following the flood in the Jhelum River a massive volume of water spilled over into the flood
channel and overflowed the bund submerging Jawahar Nagar, Raj Bagh completely, for the first time a century. The flood has devastated entire Jawahar Nagar. A large number of houses, mostly old ones, have totally collapsed with only their tin roofs visible on flood water. The household items likes kitchenware are floating on the flood water which is more than five feet in height even after 12 days after the flood hit Srinagar. The entire power supply system has got destroyed in the flood.
The spillover in the channel has even devastated the localities like along the Ram Bagh road like Haft Chinar and Iqbal Park.
“The flood has already ravaged our lives. There might be some people who have died whose bodies have not been recovered so far. In such a situation how can we go inside,” said another local Mushtaq Ahmad. He along with his son was watching the ongoing dewatering being carried out by the state government authorities.
But locals alleged the dewatering was going on at slow pace which has created anger among flood hit families who have either shifted to their relatives’ homes or are putting up in makeshifts tents on the bunds.
Though the fire and emergency services department has pressed into service six generators for dewatering the area angry locals said government was not doing enough.
“From Monday only 12 inches of flood water has receded and at some places it is only 10 inches,” said one Tajamul Ahmad Khan. He said they haven’t visited their house after the flood fury hit the area.
“Ours is not a concrete made house. We are worried about its condition,” Khan said. He said he along with his family fled the house minutes before the fury struck. “I saw at least 10 houses collapsing. The volume of flood water was so huge and the pressure it created raised the houses to the ground.”
The government of India has also flown hi-tech de-watering pumps into the area, said a man who identified himself as D Anjaneyulu working with ONGC Company. “On the request from the government of India the ONGC airlifted two pumps for carrying out dewatering in this area. Two more pumps will reach today,” he said while monitoring the functioning of the pumps.
Anjaneyulu said the pumps called “fire pumps” were used for extinguishing fire which may take place during the drilling of the earth surface for extracting oil and other fuels.
“Each pump has the capacity of sucking out 10000 litres of water per minute,” he said.
Across the bund towards Mehjoor Nagar which also got submerged in the flood, locals had cut through the bund at one place to allow the stagnant flood water flow into the flood channel.
An angry group of youth had verbal duel with a team of government officials, asking them to breach the bund to allow quick dewatering of the area. “It will take weeks to get this water out from the localities if we trust these dewatering pumps,” a youth shouted at the officials. “Whatever has remained of our houses will be destroyed by this water which is not moving out fast.”