7 reported dead as Govt sounds ‘flood alert’

Srinagar: Even as dozens of families including nomads in parts of Kashmir got trapped in torrents of water, authorities in Kashmir refused to declare flood and instead sounded flood alert across the Himalayan Valley on Wednesday. At least five persons were reportedly killed in Reasi district of Jammu when a tree, uprooted by a flash storm, befell them and two residents of Budgam were reportedly drowned. However no official has confirmed the deaths. 

The first incident occurred in Momankot area of Reasi where the victims came under a tree. The identity of the deceased has not been ascertained so far. Meanwhile, two persons drowned in Abora area of Budgam. The victims identified as Abdul Rashid Gojri and Ghulam Ahmad Bhat drowned after they slipped off from a bridge and fell into a river. Meanwhile, a youth who was trapped in flash-floods in River Sindh at Ganderbal was rescued in a joint effort of police, army and fire department.

Incessant rainfall, for several days, has been troubling life in Kashmir, with normal temperatures dipping as if heralding the onset of early winter. Officials said the water level in the river Jhelum has been nearing the danger mark and the river’s tributaries and streams in the towns have been swelling, causing concern in the Flood Control and Irrigation department which has sounded a flood alert. The Meteorological department has predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall in next 36 hours.

Citing gauge records late Wednesday evening, Chief Engineer at the Flood Control Department, Mir Javid Jaffer, said levels at some points were running just a foot below the danger mark. “At Ram Munshi bagh in central Srinagar the gauges showed 10 feet level. The danger mark is 23,” he said.     “We have sounded flood alert and directed all zonal flood committees to be present in their respective control rooms. Flood threat is certainly. There will be improvement in the situation in case the rains stop,” he said.

The Chief Engineer further said that till now no diversion of water has been made anywhere in the Valley. “ We’ll wait for flood to be declared, and we have activated the flood committees in all districts who are coordinating with their respective Deputy Commissioners,” he informed. 

People living in temporary sheds along the banks of Jhelum have been asked to shift to safer places. The incessant rains have been lashing Kashmir since Tuesday morning leading to a considerable dip in day and night temperatures. 

According to the Met office, the summer capital received 32.8 mm of rainfall during the day while Qazigund received the maximum rainfall of 79.8 mm followed by Kokarnag (55.8), Pahalgam (30.2) and Kupwara (20.8).

Kashmir Valley especially South Kashmir witnesses a flood like situation on Wednesday as number of wooden and steel bridges got washed away at different places while many areas submerged in water due to steep rise in the level of the water.

Meanwhile CNS quoted eyewitnesses saying that army personnel from 9 Rashtriya Rifles rescued six nomad families and evacuated them to safer places after the waters from Vaishav basin entered Akhran village of Kulgam. The whole village according to eyewitnesses submerged due to high water level. Families residing in Sarvan Napur village in Kahlan area of Kulgam were also evacuated to safer places due to steep rise in water level. 

In Noorabad Kulgam, Sports Stadium got completely submerged in water while a wooden bridge connecting Kunghatan with Sangam in Anantnag district was washed away by flash flood. Reports said that the carcass of animals, trees, and other building materials were seen floating in River Jehlum whole day.

Traffic on Bijbehara-Sirhama road got blocked after a wooden bridge submerged in water. Reports said that scores of villages in South Kashmir’s Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian submerged in water due to steep rise in water level. Executive Engineer Flood Control Division Anantnag, Muhammad Afzal said that they are ready to meet any challenge while the men from all the related departments including PHE, R&D and Irrigation are in touch to meet any exigency.

In Sangarwani Keller in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district various villages were inundated due to incessant rains. Reports said that in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district Nallah Shali-Ganga and Nallah Sukhnag were overflowing while the authorities have directed the local population to shift to safer places. At Karhama in District Baramull, a power receiving station was damaged due to continuous rainfall. 

Locals in Hanjivera Pattan in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district alleged that no official from the administration visited the area as it has submerged completely due to incessant rains. “The water canal developed cracks and damages due to incessant rains resulting in the submerging of houses in at least 10 villages including Hanji Veera, Trikolbal, Hadipora and Pathan Mohallah in Pattan area,” the locals said. 

A KNS report suggested that the Kulgam police launched a rescue operation when an entire village at Banjarpora, Aakhran was inundated with flood water and more than 35 families including 25 members of Bakarwal along with their flocks were trapped in it. Rafting Boats from Pahalgam were called in by Police and District administration to evacuate the trapped people including 26 children. The rescue operation was going on till late into evening on Wednesday.

A young man who was swayed away by the gushing water in nallah Sindh, today was rescued by police, civil administration with the assistance of Army. Manzoor Ahmad Ganie son of Asadullah Ganie resident of Check Watal, Lar was swayed away by gushing water in nallah Sindh at Sindbal and was trapped on landmass in the nallah while collecting wood from the nallah. However, police and civil administration with the help of Army launched a rescue operation and the person was saved from the nallah.

Meanwhile, the traffic on the 434-km Srinagar-Leh highway and also on the 300-KM Srinagar-Jammu highway has been suspended after incessant rains led to landslides. Officials said that traffic movement will resume only after the improvement in weather conditions.    

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