“Village in mourning”: Flash flood in Kishtwar’s Honzar leaves behind death, destruction

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A remote village – accessible after a five hour trek – has become the scene of a failing rescue operation in Jammu division’s Kishtwar district as a massive flash flood left a trail of death and destruction. 

Nineteen people remain missing in the village after 48 hours as the initial rescue attempts were hampered by the bad weather.

Honzar, a small village nestled on the banks of a stream, is now filled with debris and mud brought by the flood that struck it on Tuesday evening, Syed Imran, a Kishtwar based relief and rescue volunteer said.

The flash flood was triggered by a cloud burst during a stormy evening when the region received heavy volume of rainfall.

Imran told The Kashmir Walla over the phone that a team of volunteers rushed to the village the next day. “It is a hilly area and it took us nearly a five-hour trek to reach there. The village is located on top of the mountain,” he said. 

“When we reached the village, there was mourning at the village. Almost every house is impacted, six to seven houses were fully damaged,” he said.

He said nearly every family had a member missing since the flood. “Some people are injured and are in hospitals. Seven have died and we offered the funerals of some,” he said.

So far seven people have been officially confirmed to have died in the incident while twelve injured have been rescued and admitted at hospitals. The rescue operation launched to retrieve the missing villages was halted yesterday following heavy rains in the area, according to officials. 

The rescue operation resumed today morning as the crucial hours continued to slip and chances of survivors appeared slim. Teams of local police, Army, SDRF, Air Force and NDRF have been roped in to help in the rescue.

Imran, the volunteer, said the initial recovery of bodies was made by the locals of the village. “It is difficult to retrieve those who are stranded at the main location, there is a lot of debris there,” he said. 

The pictures Imran shared with The Kashmir Walla revealed the extent of the damage as debris had piled up across the village and portions of the village had been completely wiped out.

“There was one injured man who told me that the water initially rose and people came out to see. Then there was a strange sound and then he had no idea what happened,” he said.

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