Floods wreak havoc in Kashmir, 16 feared dead in landslides - Alternative Media Forum


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Monday, 30 March 2015

Floods wreak havoc in Kashmir, 16 feared dead in landslides

Srinagar,Ishfaq-ul-Hassan: National disaster response force teams have been rushed to Srinagar, IAF has also been put on standby

Kashmiri villagers and officials during rescue operations in the village of Laden at Chadoora near Srinagar on Monday AFP

Wails and cries rent the air as the rescuers dig out the debris at Ledan village in Budgam district of central Kashmir. Sixteen people were feared dead when landslides triggered by the incessant rains swept into houses on the hills. In another rescue operation at Poonch 32 people were rescued. Authorities officially declared floods at 7am on Monday, when Jhelum crossed the danger mark.

What happened?

"A massive landslide at Ledan village damaged four houses. Sixteen people of two families are feared dead. We have retrieved six bodies and operation is on to retrieve 10 others," Fayaz Ahmad Lone, superintendent of police, Budgam, told dna.

Have the authorities taken sufficient steps?

Despite bad weather, rescuers have started operation to clear the debris and retrieve the bodies. Army, police and civil administration have pressed men and machinery into service to retrieve more bodies. However, the landslides have also swept away the roads which are creating problems. The rescuers had to build a makeshift road so that the people could reach to the site and help in retrieving the bodies. "Operation is going on despite bad weather and bad slopes," added Lone.

Army personnel carried out a dare devil operation in Poonch district of Jammu where they rescued 32 people trapped. "They live in a small place which is in the centre of the river at Chandak. It is small place on a raised land and they were got stuck. So we rescued them to safety," Pawan Kotwal, divisional commissioner Jammu told dna.

How is the flood scene elsewhere in the valley?

Authorities officially declared floods in Kashmir after Jhelum crossed the danger mark of 18 feet and 22 feet at Ram Munshi Bagh and Sangam gauges respectively at 7am, on Monday. However, in the evening the government said there was slight decrease in the water levels. Official spokesman said the water level at Sangam was 21 feet, Ram- Munshi Bagh 19.70 feet and Asham 12.33 feet at 5pm, on Monday.

Is the administration prepared to deal with the situation?

Eight fully equipped NDRF teams will be arriving in Kashmir to assist the state government in its efforts to safeguard life and property of people in the wake of flood situation. Indian air force has placed its resources on standby to help out the people in distress. "Six Mi-17 helicopters, two each are put on standby at Jammu, Udhampur and Srinagar. One each Cheetah helicopter of IAF is on standby at Srinagar and Jammu. IAF has assured civil administration of all possible assistance in this time of crisis," said Col SD Goswami, defence spokesman at Northern Command headquarters. Authorities also pumped out the water from Sher-e-Kashmir hospital at Bemina after its ground storey was submerged by incessant rains causing panic among the patients.

"Shelters have been made functional to receive flood-affected, if any. Adequate number of sand-bags are available and are being used in critical embankments so that there is no breach," said chief minister Mufti Mohommad Sayeed.

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