Rains continue to wreak havoc


SRINAGAR: Even as authorities on Friday dispelled fears of floods in Kashmir, incessant rains continued on the third consecutive day bringing miseries of more than one kind even as people woke up to a bright sun on a Saturday morning. 

Contrary to a MeT department official predicting improvement in the weather conditions from Saturday afternoon, medium to heavy rains continued to lash the valley throughout the day. 

Apart from brining a significant fall in the temperature across the valley, incessant rains have begun to show their devastating effect on the routine life. 

All major roads in Srinagar have been inundated giving a tough time to commuters at most places. 

Low lying areas including Rajbagh, parts of Bemina, Batamaloo, Pantha Chowk and the commercial hub of Lal Chowk have severely been affected, causing traffic jams at many places. 

Reports said that water also entered in the corridors of JVC hospital. Water pumps were used to drain the rain water from the hospital. Protests erupted in Budshah Nagar Block C, Firdous Abad Batamaloo due to inundation of these areas. The locals alleged that administration did not do anything to drain the waters from these areas. “We had repeatedly called Srinagar Municipal Corporation for help but no heed was given to our pleas,” Ghulam Hasan Beigh said.

The Valley remained cut off from the rest of the country all this while causing shortage of essential supplies. Prices of essential items have skyrocketed with the authorities failing to curb the prices. 

Most of the people remained confined to their homes as harsh weather restricted the free movement of the office goers and school children.

The incessant rains have paralyzed life in this central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, following the incidents of land sinking and soil erosion have started since couple of days in some areas.

Scores of hamlets from North Kashmir’s Handwara town including Taras, Kandi, Natnusa, Waripora, New Colony, Magam and Kralgund were inundated after flash floods. District administration including Handwara Municipality used all means to dewater these localities. Due to inundation shops remained closed while thin movement of people were observed on the roads.

According to an official, people residing near Uri I and Uri II dams have been shifted to safer places after water started entering into many villages. The villages of Salamabad, Kalgai, Jhulla and Dachi villages were shifted to safer places. 

Avalanches and landslides triggered panic in upper reaches of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district. Around six mild avalanches and landslides were reported in upper reaches of Gund tehsil in the district early Saturday morning.

They said people ran for safer places after land started caving-in at several places in Sonamarag, Gagangeer, Rayil, Hung and Ganiwan areas. However, there was no report of loss of life or property. 

In Pattan area Trikolbal, Ghatgopalan, Khoi Sultanpora, Hanjivera Payeen, Nooripora, Gund Khawaja Qasim, Kanturbough, Malmou, Arampora, Bedbugh, Habak and Tengpora, Malbuchan were inundated creating enormous problems for the people.

Over 35 sheep were washed away after flash floods entered a shed in Quil area of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district on Friday night. Shepherd Muhammad Yousuf Dar said that flash flood waters entered the sheep shed at around 10 pm and washed away over 35 sheep. 

Three children were injured in a house collapse in Pattan area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. The house collapsed in Zangam village apparently due to caving in of land caused by incessant rains during past couple of days. SSP Baramulla Imtiyaz Hussain said the children were rescued from the house after it came down Saturday morning.

   Several areas in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district including Wudwan, Soibugh, Arth Ghat also submerged in water resulting in the disruption of vehicular and pedestrian movement.

According to reports, five residential houses were completely damaged due to landslide in Waniarm Wangath area of Kangan on early Saturday morning.

Officials said that few other houses were partially damaged in the incident.

Following the incident, officials from police and civil administration visited the spot to assess the situation.

SHO Kangan, Raiees Hassan said that five residential houses got damaged due to landslides adding that there was no loss of life or any injury to any one in the incident.

Officials said that the Civil and Police administration have so far evacuated the occupants of all the families living nearby and shifted them to the safer places.

“The situation in the upper belt of the district including higher areas of Kangan, Lar and Gund tehsils is a matter of great concern for the administration” locals said.

The residents of several areas termed the situation very serious, saying if the rains don’t stop, hundreds of houses will be damaged.

“The land in the area is sinking due to the heavy rains and large population is under threat, adding that we have no other option to flee from our homes for safety” they said.

They said that soil erosion and landslides in hilly areas of Ganderbal district is giving sleepless nights to the local population.

Residents of hilly areas of Kangan said that they are feeling insecure in their hilly hamlets as land erosion has created fear in their lives.

Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal, Showket Aijaz said that five residential houses have suffered damage due to landslide, adding that several families from waniyaram area were also evacuated and shifted to safer places following the apprehensions of landslides in the area.

Three children were injured in a house collapse in Pattan area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Saturday, police said.

The house collapsed in Zangam village apparently due to caving in of land caused by incessant rains during past couple of days.

SSP Baramulla Imtiyaz Hussain said the children were rescued from the house after it came down today morning.

They were shifted to a hospital in Pattan for treatment. Their condition is stable now, he said.

The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained closed for traffic for the third consecutive day on Saturday even as operations have started to clear the debris from landslides. 

“The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, which was closed on Thursday due to massive landslides triggered by heavy rains at several places along the highway, continues to remain closed for the third consecutive day today,” SSP Traffic, National Highway, Sanjay Kotwal said. 

He said around 600 vehicles, including 550 trucks, were stranded at different places on the 300-km long highway. 

“Some stranded passenger vehicles were cleared yesterday but around 550 Jammu-bound trucks and 50 passenger vehicles were still stranded at different places on the highway,” Kotwal said. 

He said with the improvement in the weather condition, the operation to clear the debris from the highway has started. But no movement of fresh vehicles would be allowed today.


Over 79 killed in Pakistan

Torrential rains accompanied by flash floods have killed at least 79 people over the last two days in northwestern and southwestern Pakistan, officials and local media reported on Saturday.

Most of the fatalities have been reported from the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the southwestern Balochistan provinces, where heavy rainfall and flash flooding have isolated entire villages, damaged roads and caused homes to collapse.

The current death toll includes at least eight children, according to local health officials.

Local television channels showed gushing rainwater inundating homes — with residents taking refuge on rooftops — in Quetta, Zhob, Tank, Pishin, Loralai, Chaman, Chagai, Mastung and other districts.

Accompanied by thunder and hailstorms, heavy rainfall caused several homes to collapse in the Mastung, Khyber Agency, Chagai and Zhob districts, killing 12 people and injuring scores of others.

Grabbing whatever they could salvage, local residents in effected areas — including women and children — could be seen wading through knee-deep water in search of higher ground.

Dozens of mud homes have been entirely washed away by surging flash floods, forcing local administrators in flood-hit districts to direct residents to schools and other government buildings.

Torrential rain coupled with high winds uprooted trees and electricity towers in affected areas, causing wide-ranging power outages, a local TV channel reported.

The intermittent heavy rain inundated many areas of Balochistan and paralysed life in the province. A house caved in due to heavy rain in the Sherani district. As a result, five members of a family were killed. In Loralai, the roof of a primary school collapsed. Three students were injured in the incident.

In Pashin, five people were buried under the debris of a house, which collapsed during rain. Flood in Nushki swept away eight houses and washed several roads.

A house collapsed in the Tank area of KP. A child was killed and five people were seriously injured in this incident. Two women were killed in the Karor Lal Esan area of Punjab when their house caved-in.

A man died when lightening hit him in Sarona area of Wadh Tehsil in the Khuzdar District. 

A six-year-old girl drowned in a water channel in the Salmanabad area in Rawalpindi.

At least three children were killed and four others were injured when the roof of a house collapsed due to torrential rains in the Bara area of Khyber Agency.

Levies officials said that the roof of a house came down in the Aka Khel area of Bara in Khyber Agency, as heavy rains lashed the tribal agency.

Three children died in the incident and people were seriously wounded.

The Pakistan Metrological Office, for its part, has issued a flood warning for several parts of the KP province, warning that the rainy spell would likely go on for another two days.

The authorities fear outbreaks of disease in flood-hit areas, where marooned residents have been forced to drink rainwater and eat unhygienic food.

Pakistan experienced massive flooding in 2010 and 2011, which inundated an estimated one fifth of the country and caused some 2,000 deaths.

And in 2014, over 240 people were killed in Pakistan by torrential rainfall coupled with flash floods.


Landslides kill 12 in “Azad” Kashmir

Heavy rains killed at least 12 people including women and children in parts of Azad Kashmir, officials said Saturday, with landslides and collapsed roofs blamed for most of the fatalities.

Some 45 houses were reported damaged in different areas including Muzaffarabad, the regional capital, a local disaster management official Zaheer-ud-din Qureshi told AFP.

The deaths came during rains on Friday night with Muzaffarabad, Bagh and Abbaspur, Haweli and Kotli areas the worst hit, he said.

Local police confirmed the death toll.

Poorly-built homes, particularly in rural areas, are most susceptible to collapse during heavy spring rains.

Severe weather hits the country every year, with hundreds killed and huge tracts of prime farmland destroyed in recent years.

During the rainy season last summer, torrential downpours and flooding killed 81 people and affected almost 300,000 people across the country and Kashmir.

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