Jammu- Eight people, including five children, were killed after heavy rains triggered landslides and left several houses damaged in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district on Wednesday, officials said.
Kathua Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Minhas ordered an immediate ex-gratia relief of Rs 50,000 to the kin of the deceased.
“We have eight confirmed deaths in rain-related incidents. The administration is keeping a close watch on the flood-like situation developing in the district,” Minhas told PTI.
Expressing condolences over the loss of lives, he said an immediate relief of Rs 50,000 for the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 25,000 to those injured was sanctioned.
Braving incessant rains, rescuers comprising police, Army, SDRF and locals worked for hours together to retrieve the bodies of five members of two families from the debris of their houses at Surjan village, he said.
A police official identified the deceased as Zareena Begum (40), her two sons Shahbaz Ahmad (14) and Arbaz (2), Nazia Tabassum (14) and her brother Mohd Asif (12).
At Sitti village, 13-year-old Ajay Singh came under a landslide near his house, while the body of Naseema Begum (55) was also recovered after she came under a landslide near her house at Drangal-Mandote, the official said.
Sham Lal (50) also died after coming under the debris of a landslide at Bhuldi Nallah near Daggar while he was trying to clear a water passage to avoid damage to his house, he said, adding Lal’s body was recovered and handed over to his family.
The official said while two houses were completely damaged, several others suffered partial damages due to heavy rains in the district.
A number of low-lying areas especially near the banks of Ujh river and its tributaries were left inundated, prompting police to request people to move to safer places.
Union minister Jitendra Singh also took to Twitter to express his sadness about the casualties in his parliamentary constituency due to incessant rains.
Singh said he is in constant touch with the deputy commissioner and SSP Kathua Shivdeep Singh Jamwal and said all possible assistance is being provided.
National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah and Party’s Vice President Omar Abdullah also expressed grief and sorrow on the loss of lives.
In a statement, Dr Farooq and Omar expressed profound grief over the tragic trail of deaths as two houses caved in Bani area killing five members of two families and injuring several others.
The duo demanded immediate relief for the affected families besides medical facilities to the injured. “We pray to the Almighty to grant eternal peace to the departed souls. The loss to the bereaved families is colossal”, they said while asking the near and dear ones to remain strong at this hour of grief to bear with the irreparable loss.
Chairman Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) Ghulam Nabi Azad also expressed shock and grief over the loss of lives in house collapse and landslides triggered by incessant rains in the Bani area of Kathua district.
Expressing grief over the tragedy, Azad shared pain and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured and the safety of everyone in the situation.
Meanwhile, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu Ramesh Kumar chaired a high-level meeting to review flood management measures and preparedness across all districts of the region.
Kumar assessed the damages caused due to the incessant rains and flooding in some areas and asked the Deputy Commissioners to immediately start assessment and share the same with his office, an official spokesperson said.
Calling for the swift restoration of essential services affected by the inclement weather, he directed the Deputy Commissioners to prioritise the repair of damaged roads, disrupted water supply, and power outages.
Additionally, he emphasised on the availability of essential commodities in all districts by ensuring uninterrupted supply, the spokesperson said.
To enhance the emergency response system, the Divisional Commissioner asked for establishing 24×7 multi-departmental control rooms and emergency operation centres (EOCs) in every district.
LG Grieved At Loss Of Life
In Srinagar Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha expressed grief over the loss of lives in house collapse and landslides triggered by heavy rains in Bani area of Kathua district.
“I am deeply saddened to learn about the tragic incident triggered by heavy rains in Kathua, in which a number of persons have lost their lives and many others are feared trapped under the debris. Rescue and relief operations are currently underway,” Sinha said.
He said he has directed the district administration to provide all possible aid to the bereaved families, who have lost their near and dear ones as well as medical assistance to the injured.
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