Srinagar remained on the edge throughout Monday with thousands of shopkeepers moving out goods from their shops and people ferrying their families to safer areas as the water level in the Jhelum kept rising till this evening.
Though the rain stopped early on Sunday morning, the Meteorological Department has forecast more rain, with heavy showers expected all through Wednesday, fuelling fears of a repeat of the September 2014 deluge.
“We declared a flood alert on Sunday night and are asking people from low-lying areas and those living around river embankments to shift to safer places. We are going to be in alert mode till the danger passes. The situation right now is grim, but if the dry spell continues, there is hope that we will not see any breaches in the Jhelum,” Chief Engineer of Irrigation and Flood Control Department Javed Jaffer told The Hindu.
While the water level in south Kashmir’s Sangam gauge went down through the day from 22.30 feet at 11 a.m. to 21 feet at 5 p.m. because of the let-up in the rain, the water levels rose in Srinagar from 19.50 feet to 19.70 feet during the same period. “It takes the water several hours to travel from south Kashmir to Srinagar and around evening we will see the water level come down as well,” Mr. Jaffer said.
Around 6.30 p.m., it began raining again in several areas of south Kashmir.
“We are doing everything to save the city. The administration is out on the field and we have decided to follow the directions of the flood manual to the end,” Cabinet Minister Altaf Bukhari said.
Mr. Bukhari said if the situation did not improve and if it rained again posing a threat to the Valley, the government would breach the Kandizaal embankment to divert the flood waters to one side of the city. The breach would affect Padshahi Bagh, Mehjoor Nagar, Naik Bagh, Natipora, Budshah Nagar and several other areas but the rest of the city would be unaffected, he added.
Heavy rains forced authorities to issue an alert asking people to move to safer places.
Prime Minister deputes Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi to visit the State today.
The Hindu's Editorial on the floods that ravaged Jammu and Kashmir last year.