June 22, 2022 11:30 pm

2014 Flood Fears Return To Haunt Kashmir Valley

A man carrying his belongings from his submerged house in Bemina area of the city on Wednesday: KO Photos, Abid Bhat

I&FC Dept Issues Alert In Srinagar As Jhelum Breaches Danger Mark

Srinagar- The authorities in Kashmir Valley on Wednesday sounded flood alert in this capital city after heavy downpour over the past four days led to a rise in the level of most water bodies in Kashmir with the Jhelum river crossing “danger level” at Sangam and Ram Munshibagh in Anantnag and Srinagar district respectively.

The authorities have also started moving people from low-lying areas to safer locations.

Videos which have gone viral on social media show dozens of villages including Wayil in Ganderbal, Quimoh in South Kashmir, Chamgund in Kulgam and Srinagar’s Bemina area submerged under a massive gush of water.

Notably, the water level at Sangam in Anantnag district was measured at 18.18 feet, marginally above the 18-feet mark for flood alarm. As soon as the water level at Sangam exceeded the 18-foot threshold, the flood and irrigation department issued a flood alarm for the Jhelum River.

Vaishov stream, which flows mainly through Kulgam district, was flowing dangerously above the flood alert mark as well. A breach in a temporary diversion along the banks of Vaishov stream in Chamgund in Kulgam was also reported.

Pertinently, authorities have also sounded a flood alarm in Srinagar after the water level in Jhelum breached 16-ft mark at Ram Munshibagh here.

As per officials of the flood & Irrigation department, the Jhelum river was flowing at 16.21-ft at Ram Munshibagh, 0.21-ft above the alarm level of 16-ft and 1.69-ft below flood level of 18-ft.

Additionally, higher reaches have even received snowfall which accounts for a substantial drop in the temperatures in the recent week. The holy Amarnath shrine in south Kashmir also received snowfall.
According to reports, the higher reaches of Kashmir especially Affarwat area of Gulmarg, Tulail, Gurez, hilly areas of Kangan in Ganderbal, Rajouri and Poonch districts located in upper reaches of Pir Panjal mountain ranges and others experienced fresh snowfall, leading to the closure of many roads including Gurez-Bandipora, Mughal road and Srinagar-Jammu highway.

“The habitation residing along the River Jhelum in south and central Kashmir are requested to remain vigilant,” an official from the Irrigation and flood control department told Kashmir Observer.

He further added, “We’ve pressed in men and machinery to fill breaches at several locations across Kashmir.”

When asked about why these embankments had been crushed down by just four days of downpour, the official replied, “This is not the right time to answer such questions”.

While Jhelum was flowing at its lowest ebb in several years until recently, rains from the last few days have brought about considerable rise in the water level, raising eyebrows against the authorities.

“Let’s say, if the rains would’ve continued for a few more days, the whole valley would’ve been under water. Wouldn’t it have been authority’s negligence to secure embankments around water bodies?” Owais Anafas, a resident of Bemina told Kashmir Observer.

However, the officials say that the water level across Kashmir has already started receding.

“See, it’s quite understandable the way people are reacting. But, they too should know that when it heavily rains across Kashmir, the waters increase abruptly and when it stops raining, the water takes some time to recede. However, now things have come under control across Kashmir,” Ahsan Ul Haq, S.E. Hydraulic Circle Budgam told Kashmir Observer.

“The threats of flood have also subsided but it’ll take at least two to three days for the water bodies to come back to its original shape. But, people living near the embankments are strictly advised to remain vigilant unless the threat of waters fully subside,” he added.

A full weather improvement is expected starting in the late afternoon, according to the Meteorological (MeT) department.

“The weather has already improved. There’s no prediction of rain till 28th June. We may expect light intensity showers after 28 but as of now, no severe downpour is predicted.” Mukhtar Ahmed, Deputy Director MeT in Srinagar told Kashmir Observer.

Schools Closed In Many Districts

Authorities in several districts of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday ordered suspension of class work in schools in view of heavy rains.

The schools were closed in Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian, Pulwama Kupwara, Baramulla, Bandipora, Ramban, Doda and Kishtwar districts.

“In view of very heavy rains in Anantnag district, class work in all primary , ordered middle and High schools of district shall remain suspended today,” Deputy Commissioner Anantnag Dr. Piyush Singla said.

District Administration Kupwara also announced decision to suspend classwork in primary, middle and high schools across the north Kashmir district as a “precautionary measure” amid incessant rains.

Chief Education Officer Shopian said that due to prevailing bad weather conditions, classwork upto class 8th shall remain suspended in all the government and Private Educational Institutions of district.

District administration Ramban also tweeted: “In view of heavy rains and overflowing of nallahs at several places across Ramban District, all Primary, Middle & High Schools shall remain closed today. Orders will be issued separately.” Similar order has been issued by district administration Kulgam.

CEO Baramulla also ordered that class work in all Primary, Middle and High Schools shall remain suspended in view of incessant rainfall in the north Kashmir district.

Heavy Rains Kill 70 Sheep In Budgam

A report from Budgam said at least 70 livestock which include sheep, goats and some cows were killed due heavy rains in central Kashmir.

According to the reports, 66 sheep and cows were killed in the high altitude area of Budgam where Chopan families go to graze livestock during summer months.

Mohammad Ashraf District sheep officer Budgam said that at least 66 sheep were killed due to snow, rain and cloudburst at high altitude areas.

“14 sheep were killed due to cloudburst at Dourien, 8 were killed at Ladermad as a pine tree fell on them, some were killed due to hypothermia and some were killed due to non availability of feed,” he added.

He said that they have advised shepherds in all 12 highland altitude points in district Budgam to return till weather improves.

“Primary reports said that out of 2.5 lakh sheep, 66 died due to bad weather for the past few days,” he said.

Chief advisor for J&K Gujjar Bakarwal Youth Welfare Conference told a local news agency KNO that cattle herders at Diskhal, Hamkhal, Daandeer, Frasnaag, Meachi khanen, Dragtolan, Bargah, Chidak, Tosamaidan have lost livestock due to untimely snowfall while urging the government for relief to the affected families.

Similarly reports said that several nomadic families living on the upper reaches and banks of the river in Kulgam have lost their livestock due to continuous rainfall.

An official from administration said “Tehsildar Kulgam & the team visited various locations to shift the nomads to safer places as per the directions of DC Kulgam Bilal Bhat, Relief-Blankets/Food items provided. Relief cases being prepared for the loss of livestock/property.”

“Have received distress calls from migratory families stuck in high altitude #kausarnag #kulgam. Teams were constituted and sent with necessary relief (blankets,waterproof covers. Food & fodder). Teams will reach there after trekking for 30 kms,” he tweeted.

District Magistrate Shopian also said, “The rescue team deployed by District Administration Shopian assessing the ground situation at Upper Dubjan tattapani.”

In Ganderbal, administration has deputed officials to review /check situation at Dourinar, Vishensar, Gadsar, loundisulban, Sonamarg, Ganderbal, Mahlish, Kulan Gumri, Mengandob, Salnai and Jawdara however no loss of any livestock or human life has been reported from district.

25 Tourists Rescued At Sinthan Top

Authorities in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Wednesday said they have rescued twenty-five tourists stuck near Sinthan Top road.

“Under the supervision of DC Anantnag, a joint rescue operation was launched by administration of Sub-Division Kokernag (Revenue, Police and NHIDCL) and administration of Sub-Division Chatroo (Revenue and police) under supervision of DMs Kokernag and Chatroo on June 22, 2022 at around 11 am during which half a dozen vehicles carrying 25 tourists, locals, supplies stuck near Sinthan Top road were rescued”, said a district administration official adding the road was blocked due to fresh snowfall landslide.

“Tehsildars and SHOs of both the sides were closely monitoring the operation under supervision of SDPO Kokernag with the army’s 19 RR on standby”, they said.

Follow this link to join our WhatsApp group: Join Now

Be Part of Quality Journalism

Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.



Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir