Unprecedented flooding in J&K: Omar

Centre sends 70 boats, 5 NDRF teams to state

Unprecedented flooding in J&K: Omar

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said on Sunday that the flood situation in the state was “unprecedented”, and asked people not to panic, promising that the government would come to their rescue as soon as possible.

This, even as Home Minister Rajnath Singh decided to send 70 boats and five teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to Jammu and Kashmir for the rescue and relief of flood-affected people after reviewing the situation, worsened by incessant rain, which also led to the yatra to the holy cave shrine of Mata Vaishnodevi to be suspended for the fourth consecutive day,Reaching out to people on Twitter, Omar said: “This is an unprecedented situation and we are doing the best we can under the circumstances. Please do not panic, we will reach you, I promise.” 

He asked the people, who were sending distress calls to him on the micro-blogging site, to stay in the upper storeys of buildings and wait for the help.

“All of you tweeting for help/rescue, we are doing our best to reach all ASAP. Please stay in the upper floors and wait for the help to come,” he said.

The chief minister said he had spoken to the Union Cabinet Secretary to direct the air force to use helicopters to evacuate people from the areas that have been submerged.In New Delhi, the home minister ordered that the boats be despatched on Sunday itself for use in rescue operations, said a Home Ministry official.

Control rooms are being set up at Srinagar, Jammu and New Delhi to monitor and coordinate the rescue and relief operations.

The telephone numbers of the control rooms are: New Delhi Jammu and Kashmir House (011)-24611210 and 24611108; Srinagar 0194-2452138; and Jammu 0191-2560401.Anybody seeking assistance pertaining to the flood crisis in J-K may also approach Home Ministry’s control room in New Delhi, the telephone numbers for which are: (011) 23093054, 23092763, 23093564, 23092923, 23092885, 23093566, 23093563.

The home minister also instructed that five teams of NDRF be sent immediately to the flood-affected areas of the state.

Singh has also appealed to all social organisations and NGOs to mobilise their resources to bolster the rescue efforts. 

Meanwhile, NDRF Director General OP Singh told reporters that a total of 17 teams, each consisting of about 50 personnel, have been deployed in Jammu and Kashmir for relief operations.

“We have provided all our teams with satellite phones. Over 3,000 people have been evacuated till now and we are sending more boats,” said Singh.

Yatra to the holy cave shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Deviji from Katra base camp continued to remain under suspension from September 4, keeping in view the safety of pilgrims in the wake of continuing rain and the closure of the track due to landslides at various places, said officials of Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board.

“Yatra to the cave shrine remained suspended for the 4th day today (on Sunday) in view of heavy rain and bad weather conditions,” they said.

Authorities said a decision on resumption of the yatra will be taken only after the weather improves, and advised the intending pilgrims to re-plan their schedule for the pilgrimage accordingly.

Over 4,000 pilgrims, who were stranded at Bhawan and other places, have been shifted to safer places, they said. 

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