Lakhs of people are still stranded in flood-affected Jammu and Kashmir even as the armed forces and teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) stepped up relief and rescue operations after the weather further improved on Tuesday.
The rescue teams have evacuated about 47,200 people, including 24,000 from Srinagar city. Among those rescued from Srinagar were the Ambassador of Nepal, 16 members of his delegation and a 28-member Pakistani golf squad, which was part of a SAARC team.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah described the floods as the worst in 109 years, and said the government would reach out to all the victims.
“We are doing whatever we can do in tackling the worst crisis the State has faced in living memory. In this crisis, our first priority is to rescue people. Rehabilitation and other things come later,” PTI quoted him telling Doordarshan.
Air India joined the effort to provide succour to the flood-affected. It announced two additional flights to fly out tourists stranded in Srinagar free of cost.
Defence officials said the number of medical teams had been increased from 65 to 80 and a field hospital had been set up.
Ready-to-eat meals and blankets were being provided to the victims.
Nearly 200 boats have been mobilised and the Army has pressed 13 Chetak and five Advanced Light Helicopters into service.
Indian Air Force helicopters and transport aircraft have undertaken 451 sorties and dropped 563 tonnes of relief material. But telecommunication links in the Valley continues to be down.
To restore road connectivity, five task forces of the Border Roads Organisation have been deployed. They have restored the connectivity between Batote and Kishtwar. The Centre has asked the J&K government to post on its website the list of people rescued from different parts of the State. Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami said the anger about the delay in rescue teams reaching them was justified but the magnitude of the disaster was “unprecedented.”