Kashmir battles massive floods, rescue operations continue

Aerial 1
Aerial view of Srinagar city.

New Delhi

In Srinagar, thousands of people are still stranded on roof tops or top floors of their houses waiting for help as heavy floods that have claimed more than 175 lives continue to wreck havoc across the Kashmir region. And, with food essentials and medical supplies also running low, the situation could get even worse. The Indian army and air force has been rescuing people and also bringing in supplies from Delhi and Chandigarh to the affected areas.

On Saturday, flood waters rose sharply overnight in Srinagar city catching many people living in low-lying areas unaware. Most of the homes and hospitals are inundated creating panic among the people who are trying to move to safer grounds. River Jhelum is flowing 10 feet above the danger mark. Reports are coming in that in several areas the water level is decreasing.

Massive rescue operations are currently going on in several parts of Srinagar and surrounding areas to move people to safer places. Asif Ahmed, member of a voluntary help group told The Kashmir Walla they are doing best to get people out to safer places. “The Army has brought in helicopters to get people out as quickly as possible, but it is not easy. People have been stuck there for long time, they are dehydrated and need food,” he said.

According to a India Today report, there are around 200 students stuck inside Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical sciences waiting for help.

Indian army’s Lt Gen DS Hooda, during a press conference in Udhampur, said, “Around 20,000 people have been rescued, continuing with rescue efforts, 60 medical teams deployed across Jammu and Kashmir. Situation is critical, the valley remains cut off. In the next 48 hours our focus remains on Srinagar.”

Although there was no fresh rainfall on Monday, the situation still remains tense. Inability to contact friends and relatives as phone lines are down have also made people outside the Valley anxious about the well being of the well-being of those trapped inside. Social media sites are flooded with SOS messages giving details of families awaiting rescue.

More than 350 villages are submerged under floods and thousands of other villages have been badly affected due to incessant torrential rains over the last five days that caused majors rivers in the Himalayan region to overflow into residential areas.

Parts of south and central Kashmir areas like Pulwama, Kulgam, Anantnag and Shopian are completely cut off with roads and bridges swept away. With much of the communication lines down, the exact scale of the devastation could be even worse.

The work is going on to restore the services of BSNL telecommunication network. The government has sent 15 high frequency wireless sets to Srinagar today and is expecting that the wireless service will be set up in three-five days, Zee News reported.

In Jammu region, landslides triggered by heavy rainfall have badly damaged roads and bridges causing vehicular traffic being stopped on the Jammu-Pathankot highway. The state government has closed all schools till September 12.

In Pakistan-administered Kashmir, conditions are no different. BBC reported that more than 160 people have died on the other side of the LoC due to floods.

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