7 killed, 5 injured as cloudbursts, flash floods hit parts of J&K, Ladakh

A truck wades through a waterlogged road during heavy rains in Jammu, Monday, July 26, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Seven people were killed and five critically injured after a cloudburst hit Kishtwar's Honzar village in the upper reaches of the Jammu region on Wednesday.

And flash floods triggered by incessant rain in the past 24 hours damaged civilian property and government infrastructure in parts of J&K and Ladakh.

“Seven bodies have been recovered from Honsar village in Dacchan tehsil so far. A total of 17 people were rescued. Of which, five were critically injured. A rescue operation is on in the area,” Inspector General of Police Mukesh Singh told The Hindu.

Initial reports suggested that 19 residential houses and 21 cowsheds were damaged by flash floods triggered by the cloudburst that took place in the intervening night of July 27-28.

Rescue work

For many hours, rescue teams could not reach the village due to the inclement weather. The district administration, accompanied by the members of the State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF), and the police rushed multiple teams to the area to rescue around 35 missing locals, including members of the nomadic Bakerwal community that takes cattle for grazing to upper reaches.

“Several people were still missing. The exact number could not be ascertained immediately,” Senior Superintendent of Police, Kishtwar, Shafqat Hussain, said.

Chopper service was put into service to shift the injured to hospitals, officials said. Accessibility to the area, where the cloudburst inundated the villages and washed away houses, remained cut off due to incessant rain.

An Army spokesman said two Army columns were mobilised to assist the civil administration in the rescue operations.

Fresh advisory

A fresh advisory was issued by the Kishtwar administration, warning people against venturing near water bodies, landslip-prone areas, electric poles.

The officials said flash floods also damaged crops, orchards, temporary bridges and houses in nearby Doda district, where Bhalissa, Bonjwah, Kahra and Thathri were the worst affected.

In south Kashmir, at least 80 residential houses and standing crops were damaged in Anantnag’s Bijbehara area. In north Kashmir’s bandipora, a cloudburst triggered flash floods.

“One residential house and a mosque were partially damaged in the Aloosa area of Bandipora district,” the officials said.

Heavy rains also triggered massive landslips near the Shri Amarnathji Cave in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.

“The slides have occurred in Brari Patri and between the lower cave and the holy cave,” District Magistrate, Ganderbal, Kritika Jyotsana, said.

More rain

According to the meteorological department, there were chances of flash floods and landslips in parts of J&K. “Widespread intermittent rain is most likely to continue till July 30. Heavy to very heavy rain is also possible at some places,” it said.

People have been advised to remain alert and very cautious as the water level has increased in all the rivers.

In Ladakh

In the Union Territory of Ladakh, cloudbursts hit two villages in Kargil district. One occurred at Khangral village, about 60 km from Kargil, and another at Sangra, about 40 km from Kargil, in the Sanku division. The Kargil-Zanskar road was closed. One power project suffered damage due to flash floods, the officials said.

PM’s message

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet, “The Central government is closely monitoring the situation in the wake of the cloudbursts in Kishtwar and Kargil. All possible assistance is being made available in the affected areas. I pray for everyone’s safety and well-being”.

J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said he spoke to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and discussed the prevailing situation in Kishtwar. “A SDRF team was waiting to be airlifted, two SDRF teams were on stand-by. An NDRF team from Punjab has been rushed,” he added.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 3:24:50 AM |

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