Rain triggers floods in Kashmir

Rain triggers floods in Kashmir

 Two people died and three soldiers went missing as incessant rain and untimely snowfall created a flood-like situation and triggered avalanches in Kashmir on Thursday, forcing the state government to ask people to remain vigilant and order closure of all educational institutions till Monday.

Reports said a woman and a minor girl died in Rajouri and Kupwara districts, respectively, while scores of passengers went missing in Anantnag district. The snowfall also triggered multiple avalanches, in which an army post in Batalik sector of Ladakh was buried. Army's Northern Command in a tweet said that five soldiers had got buried in the snow, of whom two have been rescued while search is on for the missing troopers.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti chaired a high-level meeting here to take stock of the situation caused by the snowfall and the rain. The rain forced closure of the Jammu-Srinagar highway as the downpour triggered landslides and shooting stones at several places along the 300-km road.

Air traffic to and from Srinagar International Airport was also affected due to weather conditions. Ten flights were cancelled and most others delayed.

Massive traffic jams were witnessed in many parts of the city as the roads were inundated by overflowing drains.

The government asked people living near river Jhelum to be vigilant as the water level neared the danger mark at several places. The level crossed the ‘flood declaration’ mark at Ram Munshi Bagh in Srinagar,

“People living around the Jhelum have been asked to keep a close watch on the rising water level,” a flood control department official said.

Many small bridges and culverts on fast-flowing streams have been damaged and at places trees and electricity poles uprooted, the official said.

A Met department official said the rain and the snowfall that started on Wednesday night are expected to continue till Friday afternoon and can cause a further surge in the water level in Jhelum and its tributaries.

“There is precipitation due to interaction between the currents and western disturbances prevalent over all three regions of the state. There would be an overall improvement in the weather from Friday afternoon,” he said.

Due to the untimely snowfall and the subsequent rain, several areas in Srinagar, which is scheduled to go for Parliament bypolls on April 9, were waterlogged. At various places water spilled from drains and flood channels and entered houses.

Reports said two passengers went missing when a cab they were travelling in plunged into a river in Kokernag area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district. An official said nine passengers were rescued but two others went missing.

A senior police officer told Deccan Herald that in the wake of the flood threat authorities have put in place contingency plans to evacuate people from vulnerable areas, if the need arises.

Also, there are evacuation plans for hospital and patients would be accommodated on upper storeys of hospital buildings.

The rising water level in river Jhelum and the swollen mountain streams have brought back memories of the devastating September 2014 floods — the worst in a century. It had left a trail of destruction and death in the state.

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