Kashmir: Flood fury claims 6 lives; Many areas submerged

NDRF teams airdropped for rescue operation in South Kashmir, Srinagar; Highway remains closed; CM tours affected areas

Flood fury continued to wreak havoc in Kashmir on Friday, claiming at least six lives even as some halt in otherwise incessant rains saved many low-lying areas in the Valley from submerging, especially in the summer capital Srinagar.

Three persons were killed when they were washed away in flashfloods in Sukhnag Nalla in central Kashmir’s Budgam district. A youth was drowned in Vaishaw Nalla in south Kashmir Kulgam district while two more persons died in flood related incidents in north Kashmir’s Tangmarg area and central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.
Struggling to control the situation emerging due to floods, the Jammu and Kashmir Government sought assistance from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Army to undertake rescue operations in worst-hit areas of the Valley.
Officials said four NDRF teams, each comprising at least 50 personnel, arrived in Srinagar on Friday and immediately rushed to South Kashmir’s flood-hit areas. “Four teams of NDRF are camping in Pulwama, but are facing problems in undertaking the rescue operations as connectivity to various flood-hit areas has been lost due to damaged bridges and culverts,” Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Rohit Kansal told Greater Kashmir this evening.
South Kashmir has borne the worst brunt of the floods in river Jhelum as many areas in its districts including Islamabad (Anantnag), Kulgam and Pulwama are submerged. The power supply in the districts is snapped while communication network is lost.
The NDRF is specially trained for response to natural and man-made disasters. “The NDRF teams are equipped with specialized boats and equipment to undertake rescue operations. We have identified the affected areas which need instant help and the NDRF teams have been sent there,” said Kansal, who alongwith Inspector General of Police AG Mir, is camping in South Kashmir.
The State government has also asked the Army to assist it in the rescue operations. “Army has also launched rescue operation and we have also asked them to assist us in flood-hit areas,” Kansal added.
Pertinently, the Government Thursday sounded flood alert in Kashmir as waters in river Jhelum crossed the danger mark, inundating several areas. Police said the NDRF teams have been able to reach out the worst affected areas in Anantnag, Kulgam and Pulwama.
“Since several bridges and culverts have been washed away and roads leading to South Kashmir are submerged or washed away, the police teams after trans-shipment of equipment and boats have been able to sent the NDRF rescue teams in the areas this evening,” a police official said.
In the wake of incessant rains for three consecutive days, the authorities yesterday issued a weather advisory asking people living in flood-prone areas and on embankments of rivers and streams to shift to safer places. On Thursday, Jhelum crossed record 31-feet mark at Sangam in Anantnag—seven feet above danger mark.
“With few hours of respite in rainfall, water started to recede in river Jhelum. Presently, though Jhelum is flowing over danger mark, it has stabilized due to halt in rainfall. In Srinagar over one inch of water in Jhelum receded after rains stopped in the afternoon. If rains stop, it will take a week or more for the water to recede from the flood-hit areas,” said Chief Engineer, Irrigation and Flood Control depatment, Javid Jaffar.
“Presently the situation is under control. However there are reports of heavy rainfall in Shopian this evening,” he said.
Many areas including Hamdania Colony in Bemina, Kursoo Rajbagh, Barzulla, Pantha Chowk and Pandrethan were submerged Thursday. However, due to halt in rains this afternoon, the adjoining areas of these localities were saved from inundation.
Director Meteorological Department Sonam Lotus said more rains were expected in the Valley in next 24 hours. “Kashmir region will receive moderate rains on Saturday. However, there could be heavy rainfall in Poonch and Rajouri regions of Jammu during this period. The weather is likely to improve in Kashmir from September 7,” he told Greater Kashmir.
Reports said power and water supply has been severely affected in various areas of Kashmir due to incessant rains. In the summer capital Srinagar, the Power Development Department resorted to unscheduled power cuts causing immense inconvenience to people, reports said.
Reports said water supply to various areas was also affected.
The 300-km Jammu-Srinagar Highway remained closed for vehicular traffic for second consecutive day Friday due to landslides at various places.
Due to closure of the road, 1200 vehicles, including passenger ones, were stranded on the highway, police said. “Men and machines of Border Roads Organisation (BRO) are working to clear the highway.”
Over a dozen inter-district roads are closed following landslides and flashfloods.
Police has advised people to avoid travelling in flood-prone areas for next couple of days.
A 134 KV transmission line tower supplying power to Kashmir and Jammu was also washed away by flashfloods at Bishleri nallah near Ramsoo Thursday evening, officials said.
A man died of heart attack after seeing the flood water entering his village in Tangmarg area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Friday.
Muhammad Assadullah Shiekh suffered cardiac arrest after flood water entered his native Pinjura village in Kunzar, reports said.
Many houses and a masjid were damaged at Pinjura after flood waters entered the village, they added.
A hut of the Tourism department in Drung tourist resort was washed away after being hit by flashfloods, locals said.
Meanwhile, the road to famous tourist resort of Gulmarg was cut-off when two vital bridges got damaged at Kunzer due to flashfloods.
At least 12 huts and several vehicles belonging to Army’s 34 RR and 18 BN BSF were washed away in flashfloods in Boniyar area of the north Kashmir district on Friday. About three residential houses and a hospital also suffered damage after a stream in the area breached near Bela Salamabad this afternoon.
According to reports, the Hapatnaar stream at Bela Salamabad breached and washed away 12 huts occupied by Army’s 34 RR and 18 BN BSF. Several vehicles belong to the army were also washed away during the incident.
A police post at Wagoora area of Sangrama constituency was also washed away in the flashfloods, reports said.
Officials said around 35 residential houses, over 10 bridges and dozens of culverts have been damaged due to the flashfloods in the district. Several areas in the district are cut from district headquarters.
The border town Uri in Baramulla got disconnected from the rest of Kashmir after NS Bridge collapsed this morning due to flashfloods. In upper reaches of Uri town, the situation has turned extremely grim after landslides hit the area. Dozens of villages in upper reaches of the area are cut off from the low-lying areas.
Panic gripped Nowshehra area in Boniyar after earth of nearby hillock started slipping, triggering landslides in the locality.
In Fatehgarh area of Narwaav, Nallah Mundri breached at several places this afternoon and washed away a Darul-Uloom. However, the students of the institution had already been shifted to safer places.
In Kreeri area of Kandi belt, a government higher secondary school suffered massive damage after flashfloods hit its premises this morning.
The flood situation in Pattan area of Baramulla district turned grim as over a dozen villages completely submerged in flashfloods. These include Hanjivvera, Trikolbal, Khore, Mamoosa, Mahrajpora, Kungamdora, Palhalan Ghat and Chak Jammal.
Reports from Gabewaar Vijee village said around 500 livestock were washed away in the flashfloods. The area also received snowfall this morning.
Deputy Commissioner Baramulla Farooq Ahmad Lone said there is no loss of life in the district. “Many bridges and culverts have been damaged due to flash floods. The level of river Jhelum is already high and it is expected to swell further and affect the low lying areas of the district. The district administration is ready to face any eventuality. We have issued an advisory for the inhabitants of these areas to shift to some safer places,”  he said.
Police and civil authorities Thursday evening rescued 14 families at Kulhuma village in Bandipora district. The increasing water level in Wullar Lake submerged major portion of the village.
Water level in Jhelum around Sumbal, Asham and Hajin was rising.
Deputy Commissioner Bandipora Shah Faisal said he was camping at Sumbal along with his team of officers to monitor the situation.
Two bridges on Nallah Kehmil in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district were damaged Friday due to flashfloods caused by incessant rains. The Bungergund bridge connecting Trehgam with Ramahal, and Shaloora bridge, connecting scores of villages of Kralpora and Ramhal, collapsed due to flashfloods, officials said.
Floods also damaged some residential houses in Dar Mohalla Ridi in Chowkibal besides causing damage to Shartwari Macadam Plant.
Reports from low-lying areas of Kupwara and Handwara said in the wake of rising water level in streams, people moved to safer places from Bungergund, Paddargund, Baba Gund, Hanjipora, Adoora (Langate), Bramri, Khonabal (Handwara), Balipra, Awuthkul, Shah Mohalla Gund Momen, Wodhpora, Drugmulla Chak, Mattipora and Shartiwari
Deputy Commissioner Kupwara Itrat Hussain Rafique said he along with other officers visited many affected areas and asked officials to place sand bags on the banks of these streams to minimize chances of the breach.
A man died after he received electric shock while draining flood waters from his locality at Kurhama area of Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district yesterday.
The victim was identified as Mushtaq Ahmad Tantray son of Muhammad Ismail of Mohalla Latiwaza, Kurhama. He was shifted to SDH Ganderbal where doctors declared him as brought dead.
A house owned by Aziz-Ur- Rehman Khan of Gotlibagh in Ganderbal tehsil collapsed due to incessant rains in the area.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah this morning travelled to various areas in Pulwama, Baramulla and Budgam districts to take stock of the flood situation and monitor the ongoing rescue and relief operations, an official spokesman said.
“The CM visited Newa, Kakpora, Lathipora, Pandrethan, JVC Bemina, Srinagar-Narbal Highway, Nowgam, B K Pora and other areas in districts of Pulwama, Budgam and Baramulla,” he said. The CM interacted with affected families saying the government would take all measures to help the people. He also received brief on the loss of paddy and other crops besides damage to the orchards, the spokesman said.
The CM said that the first concern of the administration is to rescue people and evacuate marooned population to ensure that no loss of human life take place.
“The Chief Minister gave direction to the administration to provide boats wherever required. He also directed for keeping health institutions functional and providing food and other facilities to the families who have been camped in shelter houses,” the spokesman added. In the afternoon, Omar visited Magam and adjacent areas to take first hand appraisal of the flood situation there and the damage caused to a local hospital. He directed the health authorities to start a makeshift hospital so that emergency patients are treated well.
Police Friday evacuated hundreds of families in various flood-hit areas of south Kashmir to safer places
A police spokesperson said 400 people were rescued in Rajpora Shopian, Rakh Litter, Wachi and Zainapora and shifted to safer places. Police said in Kokernag Anantnag, 14 families comprising 96 family members were rescued at Mati Bidhar and shifted to safer places.

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