2014 Fears Stalk Valley

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Srinagar:  The water level in River Jhelum crossed the flood declaration mark of 18- feet in Srinagar Thursday evening raising fears of another deluge, similar to the 2014 when city drowned following breaches in Jhelum.

Irrigation and Flood Control Department released a report saying, river Jhelum crossed the danger mark of 18 feet at Ram Munshibagh at 6 p.m.  At Sangam, the Jhelum was flowing at 20.30-feet against 21-ft mark when flood is declared.

“Due to continuous rains, the gauge at Ram Munshi Bagh has crossed the flood declaration level of 18-feet. The habitation along the embankments of River Jhelum and in low lying areas of Central Kashmir are advised to remain vigilant,” an official the department said.

In 2014, floods described as “worst in a century” hit Kashmir, which killed 330 people and as per official estimates the region suffered a loss of 16 billion U.S. dollars.

With rains continuing to pound most parts of the Valley, fears of another flood haunted residents throughout Thursday. The water level was gradually rising in Jehlum and other tributaries when this report was being filed.

There has been a steep rise in water levels in Lidder, Toungri, Vaishav, Ferozepur and Madhumati Nallahs, reports said.

Already much of Srinagar city was water logged as drains were overflowing amid incessant rains.

The heavy downpour since Wednesday evening and rare snow fall in the season since early Thursday inundated the lanes, by-lanes, main roads and the city areas, including commercial centres of Jehangir Chowk and HSH Street.

Uptown areas like Gogji Bagh, Wazir Bagh and Jawahar Nagar, worst hit in 2014 floods were waterlogged, forcing residents to leave their homes in fear. 

Bemina area of Srinagar got partially submerged today due to the heavy downpour. Some of the residents living in the interiors of Bemina have left their residence for safer places.

Reports said that the authorities in the Imam Hussain hospital located in the area have also shifted their patients to upper floors.

Reports of extensive damage to the crops, residential houses, buildings including schools and mosques have come in from several parts of the Valley.

The outer wall of Jamia Masjid Delina collapsed and several schools in almost half a dozen villages in Langate area of Kupwara district have been damaged.

Trees and orchards have also were damaged at various places in South as well as North Kashmir areas.

Inhabitants especially residing in city areas accused the authorities for failing to repair the choked drainage system, which according to them has caused inundation of the muddy water in the lanes, by-lanes and main roads.

Authorities did wake up announcing ‘emergency help lines’ in control rooms across the Valley to provide help to the people (in case of floods).

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti chaired a high-level meeting here to take stock of the situation.

The chief minister asked the divisional administration to gear up to meet any eventuality in view of the inclement weather, an official spokesman said.

She reviewed the preparedness and the steps to be taken by the administration in view of the emerging situation of rains and waterlogging in many parts of Kashmir Valley at a meeting of officers here.

She also directed chalking out contingency plans for the flood-prone areas and make available nearby buildings in case of emergency evacuations.

She specifically directed patrolling of spots which had breached during the floods of 2014. The 2014 floods had caused widespread destruction in the Valley as more than 300 persons were killed in the deluge that struck in the month of September.

According to MeT department officials, Srinagar received 83.9 mm rain and snowfall over the past 24 hours while Kokernag in south Kashmir received 69.9 mm of rains in the corresponding period.

Pahalgam, also in south Kashmir, recorded rainfall of 64.2 mm of rains in the past 24 hours, the officials said.

The incessant rains have forced closure of the arterial Jammu-Srinagar national highway as the downpour has 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 as 10 flights were cancelled while most of the other flights were delayed.

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

At some places the divisional administration had pressed into service pumps and fire tenders to dewater the roads.

The authorities also closed down all schools in the Valley till Sunday in view of the rain and unusual snowfall at this time of the year.

Universities also postponed all examinations for the day.

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