Toll mounts to 280
39 bodies recovered from Srinagar; Kashmir limping back to normalcy: Omar
The death toll due to the devastating floods that hit the State earlier this month has risen to 280, officials said on Friday.
A police spokesman told Greater Kashmir this evening that the death toll due to floods has mounted to 77 in Kashmir.
Giving break-up, he said, 39 causalities have been reported from different areas of Srinagar over the past 12 days.
“So far, 39 bodies have been recovered from Srinagar,” he said, adding that three bodies were recovered from east city, four from the west, three from north, 24 from south and two from Hazratbal.
In peripheries, the spokesman said, eight deaths have been reported from Anantnag (Islamabad), nine in Kulgam, two in Shopian, four in Pulwama, three in Bandipora, four in Kupwara , six in Budgam and two in Ganderbal.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah put the death toll at 277 across the state – 203 in Jammu and 74 in Kashmir. “The death toll in Jammu is 203 including 44 members of a marriage party who are missing since their bus as washed away (in Rajouri district),” Omar told PTI.
He said the rescue workers have so far recovered 74 bodies from different parts of Kashmir.
“Other than 44 persons from Jammu, we do not have many people reported missing. If there would have been, we would have got to know by now as communication systems have started working,” he said.
Omar also dismissed the rumors that dogs were eating bodies of flood victims or that some bodies were swept away to Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK). “There is no truth in these rumors,” he added.
Jammu and Kashmir has been hit by the worst-ever floods which have wreaked havoc in several districts causing massive destruction.
Omar said all the district administrations have been told to compile the details of damages and losses at the earliest. “I think barring Srinagar, we are still grappling with floods here, most of the districts are completing their work,” he said.
Although the state government tried to make the Civil Secretariat functional yesterday, the attempt was unsuccessful due to water logging and Omar was candid in admitting it. “We will make another attempt on Monday,” he said even as his whole cabinet and top bureaucrats are camping at Hari Niwas on high-security Gupkar Road.
Omar said life in Srinagar city, which has been worst affected by the floods, will begin to move towards normalcy in the next two days.
“We are still some way away from normalcy. It depends on how you categorize normalcy. South Kashmir is limping back much faster but that is because of the natural flow of the water. Pampore is still largely inundated but now through artificial cuts in the bund (banks), the water is flowing back into the river Jhelum. So we are hopeful that things will sort of begin to move towards normality within next 24 to 48 hours,” he said.
The Chief Minister said while some areas of Srinagar were largely unaffected by the floods, some parts are still inundated.
“Cuts have been made to facilitate the flow of water. That has been perhaps the most successful way of draining out the water. Large number of cuts has been made from Pampore to Chattabal and beyond to get the water to flow out,” he said.
Omar said while most of the organized cuts made by the government have worked well, in some cases, people have taken the matter into their own hands causing damage to some water supply schemes. “That is alright as our priority has to be draining of water. Pumping is also going on though pumps will never be an ideal solution due to the limited capacity,” he said.
The Chief Minister said the inundated areas of the city still require to be supplied food and medicines and “that is being done”. “Medical camps are being organized so that diseases and illnesses can be treated,” he added.