Rains wreak havoc in Kashmir

Rains wreak havoc in Kashmir
  • Several areas inundated, heavy damage to Sgr-Jmu highway, tourist guide feared drowned in Pahalgam
  • Cloudburst kills 52 sheep, 8 horses and 5 cows in Budgam All water bodies, including Jhelum river, overflowing danger mark
  • Eight members of nomadic family rescued as Vaishaw Nallah breaches banks All educational institutions closed in Anantnag, Kulgam, Ramban districts
  • Barzulla flood channel overflowing; water logging on many vital roads in Srinagar Bemina area flooded due to breach in Jhelum river
  • Cloudburst damages bridge between Ramban and Peera on NH, heavy landslides and mudslides near Samroli

Anantnag: At least one person is feared to be dead, while dozens of cattle have been killed, roads and diversions washed away, and hundreds of houses inundated amid a flood-like situation in Kashmir following at least three days of incessant rains and some cloudbursts.
Almost all water bodies in Kashmir valley, including the Jhelum river, were overflowing the danger mark at the time this report was filed. A slight improvement in weather, however, did calm some nerves late Wednesday evening.
The administration across Jammu and Kashmir has been issuing advisories asking people to stay away from water bodies and move from low-lying areas to higher grounds. Control rooms have been established and helpline numbers circulated for the people.
The administration has also closed all educational institutions in Anantnag and Kulgam districts in south Kashmir and in Ramban district in the Chenab Valley region.
Intermittent spells of heavy rain have been lashing Kashmir valley since Sunday evening, coupled with cloudbursts in some parts of the valley, which have swelled water levels in almost all the water bodies.
“Most of the water bodies are flowing over the flood declaration mark right now,” a senior official in the administration said, adding that the Jhelum breached the 21 feet mark in Sangam, 4.89 feet in Pampore, 17.47 feet in Ram Munshi Bagh, and 8.87 feet in Asham.
The official said that while the level at Sangam and Pampore was well above the flood declaration level, at Ram Munshi Bagh and Asham the levels were perilously close.

The water levels in tributaries – including the Vaishaw Nallah in Kulgam district, Rambiar Nallah in Pulwama district, Lidder in Anantnag district, Doodhganga Nallah in Srinagar, Sindh in Ganderbal, Drung Nallah, Firozpora Nallah, and Pohru Nallah – were either above the flood declaration level or close to that.

“The rising water levels caused breaches at certain places, causing water logging in many areas of the valley,” the official said. The worst affected was Srinagar’s Bemina area where water inundated many localities, including Geeripora.

People in these areas had to either move to the upper storeys of their houses or had to relocate as water flooded the areas. A breach in the Jhelum river caused the water logging in Bemina area.

The Barzulla flood channel was also overflowing, causing water logging on many vital roads in the capital city.

Kulgam district has been severely affected. The Vaishaw Nallah was breached at certain places, including at Chambgund, where a temporary diversion was washed away. In Laisoo, a road connecting the village to district headquarters was washed away. At Asthal, a rescue operation had to be carried out for members of a nomadic family.

“At least eight members of a nomadic family had to be rescued and brought to safer places as the Vaishaw Nallah roared,” an official in the district administration said, adding that it was the same Nallah that had caused most of the damage during the 2014 floods.

Deputy Commissioner Kulgam, Bilal Mohiuddin Bhat, was monitoring the situation himself. “We had already deployed teams at low-lying areas, learning from the 2014 experience,” Bhat said. “We have also requested people to stay away from low-lying areas.”

Khodweni and Qaimoh were other areas in the district where water overflowed the Vaishaw banks and inundated markets as well as some adjoining residential areas. “Khodweni-Shamsipora road was also washed away by the water,” the official from Kulgam district administration said.

In the neighbouring Anantnag district, a diversion over the Lidder river was damaged by the gushing waters. “Many low-lying areas have also been inundated, including the Anchidora area on the outskirts of the main town,” an official from the district administration said.

The major cause of concern in the district was a stranded group of tourists at Tarsar lake in Pahalgam area of the district. A total of 14 people, including 11 tourists and three tourist guides were stranded in the area.

“One of the tourist guides is feared to have drowned, while others have been rescued,” a police official from Pahalgam told Kashmir Reader. “I am not sure whether the body of the deceased has been retrieved yet or not. I will update you later,” he said.

The situation was similar in Pulwama and Budgam districts. An overflowing Rambiar Nallah in Pulwama district inundated many areas, including some paddy fields and at least one vital road, the Awantipora-Pulwama road.

“In Budgam district there was a cloudburst killing 52 sheep, 8 horses, and 5 cows in the upper forest areas of the district,” a senior official from Budgam district administration said, adding that a detailed assessment of the damages was being carried out.

The other districts as well are carrying out a detailed assessment of the damages caused by rains, cloudbursts, and flooding of certain areas. “It might take some days before a comprehensive assessment is completed,” the official in the administration said.

Meanwhile, the Srinagar-Jammu national highway remained closed for the second consecutive day today as landslides and cloudbursts wreaked havoc, damaging many vehicles along the route.

“There have been no casualties, fortunately, but the damage is severe,” an official from the traffic police told Kashmir Reader.

Reports from the NH said that a cloudburst damaged the bridge between Ramban and Peera, while as heavy land and mudslides have been reported near the Samroli area.

“A herculean effort to clear the stranded traffic and the road is on. We hope the operation is fruitful and is completed soon,” the official from the traffic police said.

In the Rajouri district of Chenab Valley region, the district administration is actively engaged in tracing the nomads from the district who have travelled to the upper reaches for the summer.

“We are seeking details of people and where they have travelled to from different areas of the district,” Vikas Kundal, Deputy Commissioner of the district, said. “Inclement weather has been an impediment in reaching these people, but efforts are on,” he said.

Also, there was fresh snowfall in the upper reaches of Kashmir valley, including at Baltal, the Amarnath cave, Affarwath in Gulmarg, and some other areas. The meteorological department has predicted an improvement in weather later in the day on Wednesday.


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