Flood fear haunts Kashmir as Jhelum swells after rain

Flood fear haunts Kashmir as Jhelum swells after rain

Less than seven months after Kashmir suffered its worst floods in a century, the Valley is again on the brink of a deluge, as the Jhelum river and other water bodies continue to swell under incessant rain for the past two days.

Nine bodies have been recovered so far and seven others are feared trapped after two houses came under heavy landslides triggered by the rain in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Monday morning.

Reports stated that the houses came under a huge landslide which hit Laiden village, 35 km from here.

Twelve family members of one Ghulam Nabi Hajam are among the 16 feared dead.
“A major rescue operation has been launched by the police, Army and the civil administration, and efforts to retrieve more bodies are on,” SP police control room (PCR) Imtiyaz Hussain told Deccan Herald.

The SP also said the possibility of finding any survivor seemed bleak.
“The landslide is so huge that it will take us some time to clear the area,” he added.
Incessant rain from Saturday has led to landslides at several places in Kashmir, besides the flood situation.

Though the rain stopped on Monday, forecast of further precipitation from April 1 to 4 has kept the authorities on tenterhooks, as they fear further rain “could create problems”.

Officials said the water level at Ram Munshibagh gauge in Srinagar was 19.70 feet at 5 pm, an increase of 0.60 foot since Monday morning.

The water level in the Jhelum river in Srinagar is 0.70 foot above the danger level.
Most of the residents of Rajbagh, Jawahir Nagar, Bemina, Shivpora and other localities, which were completely submerged in the September 2014 deluge, are shifting to safer areas.

The rain has also forced closure of the strategic Srinagar-Jammu national highway due to landslides at some places, traffic police officials said.
The incessant rain and waterlogging has led to the closure of several other roads across Kashmir.

Reports said flash floods in the rural Kashmir region have also damaged bridges, roads and caused panic.

With the state government issuing a flood alert in the Valley, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rushed Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi to Kashmir for an on-the-spot assessment of the damage, and has assured the state of all assistance.

To tackle the situation, the Centre also dispatched eight fully equipped National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams to assist the state government.

Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, who held an hour-long video conference with Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary Iqbal Khandey on Monday afternoon, assured the state government of all possible help.

Also, the Army on Monday rescued 24 people caught in flash floods in Poonch district of Jammu.

Defence Spokesman Lt Col Manish Mehta said at least 24 people were rescued by the Army in Chandik-Kalie bridge area of Poonch district at around 12:45 pm as they were trapped after the water level in a river rose due to the rain.

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