Jhelum Breach Affects 70,000; 300 Villages Inundated, 2000 Rescued

4 September 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: Five persons died in floods across Kashmir since yesterday and 300 villages were inundated as administration with the help of Police and Army has rescued over 2,000 people. Assistant Commissioner Kashmir, Tasaduq Hussain said that 5 persons died so far in Kashmir valley due to floods caused by incessant rains since Tuesday. He said that 300 villages are inundated, 8 bridges have been washed away and parts of Jammu-Srinagar-Baramulla National Highway and several other major roads are under water. The incessant rains led swelling of rivers and rivulets across Kashmir including Valley's main river, Jehleum. Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir has asked the people living along the banks of river Jhelum and embankments of different water bodies to move to safer areas immediately in view of the flood situation. Two persons including a woman was washed away in Anantnag district. They have been identified as Jameel Gorsi, son of Ghulam Gorsi, resident of Ishoo Kokernag and Jana Begum, wife of Haleem Khan, resident of Gudwel. An official statement said that Jhelum was flowing at above 30.7 feet at Sangam in South Kashmir which is 7 ft above danger mark of 23 feet. At Ram Munshi Bagh, 21.8 feet level against danger level of 18 feet. The water level of river Jhelum at Ram Munshi Bagh stabilized for past 7-8 hours due to breach in Jhelum at Kandizal. The breach has affected 70, 000 population in Budgam district. The situation is grim in Magam, Narbal, Wadwan, Soibugh and several other village roads are submerged. A Meteorological Department official said heavy to heavy rain-thundershower will occur at a most places over the State in next 24 hours. Majority of the areas in the peripheries of Srinagar are inundated due to heavy rains. Several colonies in Bemina including Hamdaniya Colony, Boat Colony are flooded with police and Army rescuing the residents. Water entered the residential houses in these areas. The Hajj House at SKIMS hospital and Medical College Bemina are water-logged as a bund breached behind the Hajj House. Large number of people were rescued from the hospital, Hajj House and Voluntary Medicare Society (VMS). The Bone and Joint Hospital at Barzaulla has been water-logged since yesterday after which authorities shifted patients to first flour. The bund adjacent Hospital breached last night resulting in flash-floods in the hospital premises and nearby residential colony. The attendants at the hospital used tractors to enter the hospital. Residents in Barzaulla had to breach the embankment of the Doodganga stream to let the water flow into the Mahjoor Nagar flood channel. 'The water gate could not be pulled up as it had rusted. So we hired a JCB to breach the bund and let the water flow into the flood channel. Had we not done so whole Barzaulla would have submerged and even the water could have entered into the first floor of the Bone and Joint Hospital,' said Mohammad Yaqoob of Barzaulla. Several areas in uptown Srinagar including Natipora, Mehjoor Nagar, Padshahi Bagh, Rambagh, Kursoo and Chanapora, were submerged. A breach at Bund in Natipora affected traffic moment after which traffic was diverted on Rambagh-Natipora road. A bridge at Mochu has been damaged due to heavy flood. The road from Pantha Chowk to Sempora is submerged. The roads in old city and Civil Lines have been water-logged. Nallah Mar road and Eidgah area in old city is water-logged. Lal Chowk, Residency Road, Hari Singh High Street, Sarai Bala and Magarmal Bagh have also been water-logged. Most of the shops in Sarai Bala were closed as water had entered shops and residential quarters. The rise in water level in Nallah Sindh at Kangan Tehsil of Ganderbal district, several bridges have been either damaged or washed away. In Anantnag town the areas like Janglat Mandi, Khanal are inundated. Several villages of the district have been submerged. In Kulgam alone, residents of over 30 villages have left their homes for safer places on their own. Villages Qaimoh, Wanigund, Redwani, Payeen and Redwani Bala, Naabal, Naabal, Batepora, Hassanpora, Shamsipora, Laktipora, Kujar, Chanpora, Wedow, Batkooot, Hajan and Kadipora are completely submerged under water since Wednesday. In Pulwama district with dozens of villages are under flood water. Several people were rescued and moved to safer places by police and army while many bridges collapsed due to heavy flood. The villages of Drabgam, Pinglane, Pahoo, Ratnipora, Godi, Gulzarpora, Fulmul, Sethar, Chersu, Sal, Piglana, Hanjipora, Lelhr and Wandakpora. The Romshi Nallah Bridge on Pulwama-Kakapora raod has collapsed. A bridge has also collapsed at Rajpora. Many areas in Awantipora Tehsil have submerged. In Shopian, water level in the Nallahs and rivers especially in Veshu and Rambi Ara has increased. In some low lying areas of Shopian, people have been advised to move to safer places and not to venture near rivers and nallahs for collecting of timber or firewood, they said. An official spokesman said that 54 families residing near Rambi Ara nallah at Shopian temporarily have been shifted in a local school buildings. He said all nallahs including Lidder, Veshav, Rambiara, Feroz are flowing above danger mark and have inundated and damaged areas along their banks affecting about 70 villages in these areas. In Baramulla district several villages have been inundated due to heavy rains. Hundreds of families have been shifted to safer places. In Agmona village, the residents have shifted to safer places after water level in Nallah Ferozpora rose causing floods. The other inundated villages are Check Taran, Shrai, Bongam, Karhama, Saboora, Pinjoor, Heeng, Kunzar Chanapora. At Shrai, seven labourors including non-locals were rescued by a driver after they were trapped in a stone-crusher for more than 14 hours. Srinagar-Gulmarg road is closed for traffic. A bridge at Baba Reshi was also damaged. Flood has affected villages of Pazpora, Highgam, Ningli, Kalantara, Singhpora, Rakh, Panzpora, Tarzoo and Wagoora in district Baramulla. In Bandipora, the police and army had started rescue operation at Arigam where several people were trapped. Several areas are under water in Handwara in Kupwara district. A Police spokesman said that owing to flood situation in the Valley rescue operations have been launched by Police in collaboration with civil administration since yesterday in Kashmir. Police said a lot of people were rescued and evacuated to safer places in various flood stricken areas. Dozens of lives were saved at places like Nowpora Kulgam, Kunzer Tangmarg, Ganderbal, Pulwama, Pattan and other areas of the Valley. The spokesman said that around 150 boats were commandeered by police and transported in Trucks to various flood stricken areas to evacuate the affected people. 'Round the clock flood control room is operational in Police Control Room Srinagar where representatives from Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Health, PHE, R&B, F&E, PDD etc. are available for coordination', the spokesman said. Police said all district SSPs are camping in affected areas along with all their teams providing assistance to people. 'Teams from SDRF were also pressed into action who are providing helping hand to affected people. In the meantime, Army launched massive rescue mission to evacuate people from flood affected areas to safer places. A Srinagar based Defence spokesman said that large number of people have already been taken to safety and nonstop efforts are being made to extricate people caught in critical conditions. '1-RR is operating 8 columns in villages of Sangam, Hasan Pura Bagh, Shamsipura, Turktachlu, Khudwani, Ledwani, Howrah and Quimoh in South Kashmir. Around 15 families in Turktachlu and Shamsipura were rescued and shifted to unaffected villages. Sand bags were distributed to affected villages. 25 children and 30 adults were also rescued by using tyre, tubes, ropes at Muslim mohalla, KP road, in Anantnag', the spokesman said. The spokesman said that 3RR column operating at village Hariparigam rescued 24 persons. '50RR personnel operating in Drangbal, Pampore rescued over 30 persons', spokesman added. The spokesman said that 9RR has six columns working including Engineer personnel with ropes, tyres and tubes at Banjarpura and Napura extricated 22 persons to safety. 'Columns operating at Tankipura rescued 70 persons while those at Kellamgund saved 25 persons and those at Banjatpura saved over 200 persons trapped in water logged areas with no way out. 19RR has columns operating at Vill Palpora that rescued 21 persons and provided 5 tented accommodation to them. There are two other columns with engineer persons equipped with ropes, empty jerrycans and water crossing expedients in adjoining areas', he added. The spokesman said that 44-RR is concentrating on the danger areas around Hirpur, Balapur-Shopian bridge and nearby areas. 'Column of over 30 soldiers have been located near Balapur bridge as Quick Reaction Rescue Team for early response against developing situation', he added. The spokesman said that 35RR Company located at Beerwah rushed a column to the point where 10 metre road got washed away. 'This column was kept as stand by to cater for any emergency. Similarly, two other columns are operating at Abura and Chhandil where water levels are very high', he added. The spokesman said that 53 RR troops are operating at Wathoora and Chadoora and assisting people get out of water logged areas to safety. 'While these are details of just few out of the overall effort by Army in South Kashmir, orders have been given by Chinar Corps Headquarters to the units in Kashmir to proactively reach out to flood affected people and help and rescue them to safety', he added. Meanwhile, addressing a joint press conference here, Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand and Finance Minister, Abdul Rahim Rather, said that Government has taken necessary steps for providing all possible assistance to the flood affected people besides putting in place the mechanism for monitoring the situation to ensure safety of human lives and property. Chief Secretary Mohammad Iqbal Khanday, Commissioner Secretary Revenue, Vinod Koul and Commissioner Secretary PHE, I&FC, Dr Pawan Kotwal were also present during the press conference. Spelling out the measures taken by the Government, they said control rooms have been established in every district so that the situation can be monitored on regular basis and the necessary action initiated. The Ministers said the priority of the Government is to ensure safety of the human lives besides providing them shelter and other necessary facilities. They said that the Government has already requested for SDRF battalions with the Centre and they have been dispatched and are expected to reach here soon, besides the army and other security agencies are actively helping the Government in rescue, relief and rehabilitation measures. They further said that the coordination groups have been formed and the officers have been interconnected through different media so that the rescue and relief operations are carried out in planned manner. They said that 20 persons have died due to floods in Kashmir and Jammu regions and 50 houses have been damaged across the State, while no casually has been reported from Leh and Kargil districts so far. The conference was told that 500 water supply schemes have been damaged due to floods. It was told that one bus carrying 50 passengers got washed away at Nowshera in Rajouri district where exact number of causalities is being ascertained.