Kashmir: Floods throw life out of gear
Several areas inundated; Many structures damaged; CM reviews situation
Government Thursday sounded a flood alert in Kashmir waters in river Jhelum crossed the danger mark, inundating several areas.
In the wake of incessant rains for the third consecutive day Thursday, authorities issued a weather advisory asking people living in flood-prone areas and on embankments of rivers and streams to shift to safer places to avert any untoward incidents. The Meteorological department has forecast more rains on Friday.
After continuous spell of rains, flood waters breached embankments in many low-lying areas in Kashmir, including the summer capital Srinagar, forcing people to move to safer places. Jhelum river crossed 30-feet mark at Sangam in Anantnag—seven feet above danger mark. Jhelum touched 21.8 feet against the danger level of 18-feet at Ram Munshi Bagh here, officials said.
Many areas in Srinagar including Hamdania Colony in Bemina, Lasjan, Armwari, Kanlipora, Kursoo Rajbagh and Natipora were inundated after flood waters entered there. Traffic on the Srinagar-Anantnag highway was disrupted after flood waters inundated Pandrethan and Pantha Chowk areas.
‘FLOOD ALERT’ SOUNDED
Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control Javid Jaffar said “the water level of 31-feet in Jhelum is a record as per previous date available with us.”
“We have sounded the flood alert and the situation is dangerous. The discharge in Jhelum today was 70000 cusecs against normal discharge of 25000 cusecs. A breach on Jhelum occurred at Kandizal in Budgam area, affecting a population of 70,000 souls. This has stabilized flood level at 21.8 feet at Ram Munshi Bagh in Srinagar for last four to five hours,” Jaffar said.
Officials said 60 percent water supply schemes have been affected in Kashmir due to rise in water level in Jhelum and its tributaries. Major nallahs including Lidder, Veshav, Rambiara, Ferozpura are flowing above danger marks affecting about 70 villages in their catchments.
Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Rohit Kansal has asked all the deputy commissioners to advise the people living in flood-prone areas and on embankments of the rivers and streams to shift from their houses to safer places, so as to avert any untoward incidents.
Director Meteorological department Sonam Lotus said Kashmir will receive more rains on Friday. “Rainfall will continue till Friday but with significant decrease in its intensity from tomorrow,” he said.
Lotus said as per climatology, September is not a rainy season for Kashmir and Ladakh. “But due to under-development of favourable weather systems, there had been widespread heavy rain in the past as well. One such year after 1980 was 1992 (September) when most parts of Kashmir received heavy rain, apart from September 1988 in Jammu region. The frequency of such heavy shower in September is rare but not frequent and in future also we cannot rule out heavy rainfall in September,” he said
Srinagar received 88 mm rain; Qazigund 286 mm, Pahalgam 115 mm; Kupwara-61 mm, Kokernag 219 mm, Jammu 107 mm, Banihal 245 mm, Katra 158 mm, Badarwah 165mm and Gulmarg 139 mm in the past two days.
Two persons died in Kokernag area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag (Islamabad) district due to landslides and flashfloods triggered by incessant rains.
Reports said Jana Begum wife of Haleem Khari of remote Gadi-Vail village of Kokernag area died after she was hit by a rolling stone during landslides. Another person identified as Jameel Gorsi son of Ghulam Gorsi of Ichoo, Ahlan Gadole village of Kokernag was drowned in a stream after flashfloods hit the area. His body is yet to be fished out.
Dozens of villages in Kokernag have been hit by landslides. Many villages have been cut off due to damage to bridges following flashfloods. 26 nomads were trapped in Brengi nallah at Damhal Hanjipora village of Kokernag. However, after hectic efforts they were rescued by locals and administration.
Dozens of villages in Sangam including Marhama are submerged and people have shifted to safer places. Authorities evacuated dozens of villagers from Ganjiwara village in south Kashmir. However, people of submerged areas including Bangidar, Buhram Shah and Muniward villages claimed that no official visit the spots.
Many areas in the old Anantnag town and KP Road are also submerged in floodwater. Flood water also entered areas of Mattan Chowk, Dangerpora, Mehandi Kadal, Lal Chowk, Janglat Mandi, Achajipora, Moominabad, Iqbal Market, Bakshiabad, Laizbal, Anchidora, SK Colony, Achabal Adda, Naibasti and Khanabal.
Reports said in Dooru and Shangus many houses collapsed after floodwater entered the area.
For the second consecutive day, eight nomads continued to remain trapped between Vaishaw basin in Akhran Nowpora village in Kulgam district. 12 nomads have already been rescued by rafters pressed into service by the administration. “We have called for chopper service but due to inclement weather the rescue operation was suspended,” an official said.
Dozens of small bridges in Kulgam either collapsed or were washed away by the floods.
People from at least 30 villages in Pulwama district have left their houses to safer places in view of the flood waters entering the hamlets. The affected villages include Gulzarpora, Halmula, Sethar, Kaichbehkut, Chersu, Sail, Wandakhpur, Tulkhun and Hanjipora. Reports said dozens of villages in Kakpora, Awantipora, Pampore and Tral are submerged in water.
In Shopian, the Rambiara Nallah is also overflowing and people have shifted to safer places.
In several villages of South Kashmir, people have been shifted to schools and Panchayat Ghars.
The power and water supply was snapped in entire South Kashmir while as internet and phone service was also affected.
At least 10 members from two families were trapped in Sangarwani area of Pulwama.
Residents of many villages like Mandina, Kakapora, Naina, Bandina, Ratnipora were evacuated by the rescue teams of police and army. Many bridges like Tongri bridge at Dharbad Wachitoohas collapsed due to flash floods.
Water level in rivers and streams in north Kashmir’s Bandipora District continued to rise due to incessant rains. However, the level is below danger mark. Though the authorities claimed there was no flood-like situation in the district, people living near the rivers and streams are worried about the rising water level.
They said the embankments around the streams and rivers are weak to withstand flood waters.
A bridge over nallah Sindh was washed away and one house collapsed due to floods and incessant rains in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district on Thursday. The makeshift bridge over nallah Sindh at Yatchama connecting many villages with Srinagar-Leh highway was washed away due to flashfloods.
A house owned by Abdul Aziz Kasan at Haknar Kangan collapsed due to incessant rains.
Reports said a number of nomads are trapped due to rains and floods at Gangbal, Vishanshar, Gadsar, Kulan, Gumar, Hapat Gand, Nich Nai and Satsar Nai. Floods submerged many schools and houses situated on banks of Nallah Sindh.
The uninterrupted rains submerged scores of villages in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. The district authorities have issued advisory to the residents of affected areas to shift to the safer places in case the weather conditions do not improve.
The situation in several villages of Pattan and Kunzar was reported to be extremely grim. More than 15 villages in these areas are submerged in flood waters. In Pattan area of Baramulla, several villages are inundated due to flash floods.
In Kandi belt of north kashmir’s Baramulla district, landslides hit many areas including Khodepora, Gaygaran, Sheikhpora, Nisar and Rajpora.
Meanwhile, hundreds of families migrated from many areas of Tangmarg in view of threat of flashfloods. Inhabitants of Treran, Shrai, Pariswani, Bongam, Ratnipora, Ksai Mohalla, Chanpora, Kech, Ogmuns, Dardepora, Devpora, Karhama, Aboora, Pinjoora, Goigam, Heeng and Magam have shifted to safer places while some of them have taken shelter at Middle School Treran and Higher Secondary Kunzar.
At Cheche Treran, the residential house of Huneef Khatana was washed away due to flash floods.
Many areas of Magam township are submerged while Srinagar-Gulmarg road is cut off. Patients from Magam SDH have been shifted to SKIMS Bemina.
After hectic efforts locals managed to rescue seven persons who were trapped due to flash floods in Ferozpora nallah.
An official spokesman said in view of continued rainfall and fears of landslides and shooting stones at various places on the Srinagar-Jammu highway—especially between Ramsoo-Ramban and Ramban-Batote—no movement of vehicles either from Jammu or Kashmir shall be allowed on September 5 (Friday) to ensure safety of commuters.
“The general public and transporters are advised to contact Traffic Control Rooms at TCU Ramban (9419993745), TCU Jammu (0191-2459048, 9419147732) and TCU Srinagar (0194-2450022, 2485396) to get the status of the road to avoid any inconvenience,” the spokesman said.
EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS CLOSED
The State Cabinet which met here under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah ordered closure of Government and Private Schools and Colleges in the State till 7th September (Sunday). The educational institutions, the Cabinet said, shall reopen only on 8th September, 2014. “The closure has been ordered to ensure safety of school-going children,” the spokesman said.
The Kashmir University also suspended its class work for two days (Friday and Saturday) and also postponed all its examinations scheduled to be held during these two days. The Central University of Kashmir also suspended its classes on Friday and Saturday.
The Public Service Commission also postponed the KAS Probationary examination which was scheduled to be held on Friday and Saturday. An official said the exam shall now be held on Monday and Tuesday.
HAJJ FLIGHTS POSTPONED
The Government postponed Hajj flights for three days from September 5 to 7 in view of the inclement weather in the Valley. “The new dates for these flights would be notified separately,” an official spokesman said.
CM REVIEWS SITUATION
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Thursday emphasized upon the administration to take all necessary measures to safeguard lives of people in the flood-hit areas. He directed for energetic, extensive and most effective rescue plan for saving the human lives.
The Chief Minister reviewed the prevailing flood situation in the State at a high level meeting at Police Control Room here this morning.
Minister for PHE and Flood Control, Sham Lal Sharma, Minister of State Nazir Ahmad Gurezi, Divisional Commissioner, Inspector General of Police, Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control, District Development Commissioner, Srinagar and various senior officers were present at the meeting.
The Divisional Commissioner and the Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control presented brief to the Chief Minister on the rescue and relief plan put in place to meet the exigencies arising due to flood threat and incessant rains.
The Chief Minister was given details of the arrangements made to ensure safety of people.
Deputy Commissioners stated that about 50 boats have been dispatched to South Kashmir from Srinagar for evacuation of people in the submerged areas.
“Another 100 boats are being procured for the purpose. The Deputy Commissioners of various districts have been asked to procure boats from their districts for keeping these available to the people in flood areas. It was stated that over 5 lakh sand bags have been kept available at various places by the Flood Control Department for emergency utilization. It was also informed that Zonal Flood Control Rooms have been established to keep people informed about the latest flood situation and be at their beck and call in hour of need,” an official spokesman said.
He said the Air Force has also been asked to keep air rescue plan in place for utilization.
After holding the meeting the Chief Minister visited various submerged areas in Srinagar city. He visited Bones and Joints Hospital, Barzulla which is submerged under the flood water.
He interacted with patients and doctors and asked the administration to take all steps for ensuring safety of the inmates besides helping de-watering of the hospital area.
The Chief Minister examined the Jhelum Bund and the flood discharge in river Jhelum at various places including Ram Munshi Bagh.
Ministers Sham Lal Sharma and Nazir Ahmad Gurezi were accompanying the Chief Minister.