13 Dead, 3 Buried Under Mudslide In Budgam

30 March 2015
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: At least 13 people, including an infant, were killed and 3 others buried under a mudslide that hit a remote hilly village of Central Kashmir district of Budgam today and authorities here declared floods in Kashmir after Jhelum in Srinagar crossed 18 feet mark early this morning. Laden village perched on the hills in Budgam, 40 kilometers from Srinagar is dotted with almond and apple trees with houses scattered in the orchards. On this fateful Monday morning, a mudslide hit the house of Ghulam Nabi Hajjam burying 16 people under it. The district administration last evening shifted 16 families of the village to a safer location and provided 13 tents as there were apprehensions of house collapse due to sinking of the earth. Little knowing that a house that was comparatively at a safer location will be hit by a mudslide that would cause devastation. Hajjam's 11 family members and his neighbour's 5 members were asleep when the slide struck it at 3 a.m. burying them alive. SSP Budgam, Fayaz Ahmad Lone said that Army, police and locals started rescue operation early in the morning as the news of the incident reached them. He said that they were later joined by members of SDRF. Since there is no road to the place where the 16 people were buried alive, rescuers used shovels to search them throughout the day. In the evening after days of hard work they found nine bodies. Lone said that they have recovered the bodies of Naseema, 18, Shugufta, 15, daughters of Ghulam Nabi, Rukhsana, 21, wife of Mohammad Shaban, Mohammad Shaban son of Lal Din Chopan, Mohammad Aslam, 24 days, son of Mohammad Shaban Chopan and Shamema daughter of Lal Din Chopan. And search of the other 3 persons is going on. DIG Central Kashmir, Ghulam Hassan Bhat, was monitoring the rescue operations and Deputy Commissioner Budgam and other senior officials were on the spot. Earlier, at 3 am authorities in Kashmir declared floods after Jhelum river crossed 18 feet mark at Ram Munshi Bagh. Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Dr Farooq Ahmad Lone, told Excelsior that they were monitoring the floods throughout the night last night and at 3 am when it crossed the 18 feet mark they declared floods asking people to shift to safer places from both the sides of the river bank. However, with the improvement in weather, the water level has started receding giving some relief to the people living in the flood prone areas of Srinagar and other places. Water level in Jhelum which had touched the Flood level at Sangam and Ram Munshi Bagh is showing a declining or static trend since this afternoon. The water level at 11.00 am at Sangam was 22.30 feet , at Ram Munshi Bagh 19.50 feet. It was 22.20 feet at Sangam, and 19.50 feet at Ram Munshi Bagh at 12 noon. At 1 p.m. it was 22.00 feet at Sangam and 19.60 feet at Ram Munshi Bagh. It was 21.55 feet at Sangam and 19.70 feet at Ram Munshi Bagh at 2 p.m. The water level at Sangam was 21.55 feet and 19.70 feet at Ram- Munshi Bagh at 3 p.m., and 4:00 p.m, the water level at Sangam was 21.20 feet and at Ram Munshi Bagh it was at 19.70 feet. At 5.00 PM the water level at Sangam was 21.00 feet and at Ram- Munshi Bagh it was 19.70 feet. At Sangam it was 20.50 feet and 19.60 at Ram Munshibagh at 9 p.m. Several low lying areas are flooded today and the residents were moving to safer places. Majority of the residents of Bemina locality today fled homes after waters entered their homes. In the meantime, the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service that plies between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad every Monday has been cancelled due to floods. Flood water entered several low-lying areas of Kashmir, including capital Srinagar, leading to panic among the locals for whom memories of the devastating deluge only seven months back are fresh in mind. Over 280 people had died and tens of thousands left homeless and property worth hundreds of crores damaged in unprecedented floods in the state in September last year. Incessant rains over the past 36 hours in Kashmir has caused landslides at many places while people from many areas vulnerable to floods have been evacuated to safer places. More than 320 families have been moved to safer places in Kashmir valley as water level in river Jhelum was still above the flood level. Over 250 families were shifted to safer places yesterday and 80 more families were evacuated today, police said. More than 200 structures including 176 houses have developed cracks due to land sinking in Shopian district of south Kashmir, it said. Rainfall stopped today but Met department has predicted heavy rainfall at isolated places in the State over the next few days. Authorities appealed to the people not to panic, saying every possible step was being taken to deal with the flood threat and around four lakh sand bags have been made available to strengthen the river banks and to deal with any eventuality. Refusing to take any chances this time, people started shifting to safer places. Temporary camps have been set up in various government buildings for people who have been forced to leave their homes. Schools have been shut down for the next four days and Board examinations postponed for two days. The administration during the night pumped out water from most parts of water logged Srinagar. Early in the morning despite heavy rains, there was no water logging in Srinagar. In the meantime, Police today rescued 728 people from different parts of Kashmir who were trapped in floods. The Inspector General of Police, SJM Gillani who is supervising the situation has said that the police have taken a number of measures in view of the flood situation which has arisen out of the incessant rains. He said that the water level of the river Jhelum and other small rivers and Nallaha's across Kashmir valley are being constantly monitored round the clock by the joint teams of Police and flood control. A number of control rooms have been established in the districts which are constantly collecting and disseminating the information to the people and to the Government agencies. Gillani said that the rescue operations have been carried out by the police along with the civil administration and other agencies at various places and 728 people belonging to 151 families have been rescued and evacuated to safer places. He said that evacuation plans for Srinagar city and other towns are in place. He said that SDRF teams have also been put into service at places along with the Police. SSP Srinagar Amit Kumar said that the evacuation plans for the Srinagar are already in place. The tubes, ropes, trucks and other necessary equipments have been provided to the Police Stations for effective evacuations in case of any exigency. He said that boats have been placed at the disposal of the Police Stations of the west and south zones. Besides, motorboats have been loaded. He said that in collaboration with locals sand bags have been placed at the possible breaches at Kursoo Rajbagh, Pandrethan, Shivpora, Gundbal, Nowgam and Hamdania Colony. He said that the pumps available with the police have been put to work for dewatering. Police is providing all possible help to all other departments. Reports said 158 persons belonging to 40 families were rescued from Pehlipora in Police Station Kellar. '170 people belonging to 40 families were rescued from Kich Pathri Payen and Bala', they said. Reports said that police gave a diversion to a Nallah at Dadnia thereby saving 8 villages from flood waters. 'Around 70 people of five families were rescued from Dachnow, Zampathri and Gorsi Mohalla. The Shopian police also shifted 148 members of 35 families from Lone Mohalla in Chawan, to Wani Mohalla Police Station Kellar. Shopian Police also constructed 300 feet footbridge across Rambi Ara to connect Zawoora with Shopian', they said. Reports said 18 families having 90 members have been evacuated by police and civil administration at Sona Banjar in Rajpora area. Reports said that the police along with civil administration repaired 3 breaches at Bangitar and on two sides of Hajin Bridge. Control rooms have been established in Police Station Hajin and Police Station Sumbal. Police along with the civil administration has evacuated around 30 people from 06 houses at Quil Muqam where these houses had developed cracks. The police is also providing sand bags to locals as well as to the administration to plug the breaches. In Ganistan Shilwat the efforts for dewatering are on alongwith the civil administration and the security forces. According to reports, police provided help to the locals in plugging a breach at Maharaj Pora, Sopore. They also shifted three families of Ghulam Mohammad Khan, Mir Wali Khan and Aamir Ali Khan comprising of 28 members to safer locations from Chak Khahmoh, Panzla. They said that the water level in the Jhelum and also in the Wullar Lake is constantly being monitored. In Kulgam 25 members of 5 families were relocated from Marsi Mohalla Kund in Police Station Qazigund. Another 37 people belonging to 14 families were relocated from Nagras in Police Station Qazigund. Reports said that situation is constantly monitored at Shadipora and Qamria on the river Jehlum and around 10 persons have been evacuated from Kach Pathri in Gund and Gutlibagh. Reports said 30 tents have been provided by the civil and the police administration to the people who were affected by the landslide at Ledder Chrar-i-Sharif. He said that 30 members of five families have been rescued from Brinjal, Budgam. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has expressed grief over burying alive of six persons in a house collapse at village Laden in Chadoora in Budgam district today, following incessant rains that have lashed Kashmir valley for the last few days. In his message, the Chief Minister, while condoling the unfortunate deaths, sanctioned ex-gratia relief in favour of the next of kin of those who died in the collapse. He directed the rescue team at the spot to make all out efforts to rescue the remaining trapped persons from under the debris. The Chief Minister expressed sympathies with the bereaved families in their hour of distress and prayed for peace to the departed souls. One washed away in floods in Chenani, another died after a truck slipped into nallah during heavy rain in Pancheri area of Udhampur while Army and police rescued over 50 people caught in flash floods in Poonch area today. The Jammu-Srinagar Highway was still closed but the Traffic police sleared some stranded vehicles by clearing some bottle necks partially in Ramban, Ramsoo and Banihal area. Due to rain on the third consecutive day, many roads are still blocked. Over 80 houses and other structures said to have been damaged. The Kashmir bound stranded passengers at Jammu held strong protest demonstration at Bus Stand here demanding their airlifting. No fresh vehicles from Jammu were allowed and highway is still blocked at 3-4 places, a senior Traffic official said. Doda-Kishtwar highway was also still blocked. He said at Kheri near Udhampur, the highway was cleared last evening and some stranded vehicles cleared but due to rain last night the road was again blocked. It was cleared during the day but due to movement of loose soil- slush and fresh slides it was against blocked. At Ramban, nearly 1000 stranded passengers were provided food by the district administration and then were cleared for Valley by partially opening the road. But it again blocked due to rains. The BRO men were on the job clearing slides. Reports from Poonch said that around 50 people were caught in the flash floods at Chandak-Kalaie today and Army and police rushed to the spot after getting information from district administration. They were trapped after the water level in a river rose due to incessant rainfall. They were shifted to safer places by the district administration. Six other families, whose houses have come in danger zone as a result of massive landslides in village Chhamber Kinari, were also shifted to safer places. Six families of village Chhamber Kinari and three families of Chandak have been accommodated in Government Middle School Dattigala and Government Middle School, Chandak respectively. In Rajouri eight houses were damaged and 12 sheep- goats killed in rain and hailstorm. Five houses in the district have been damaged, three of them completely, due to landslides triggered by rains, while power supply to six villages has been affected in the district due to damage caused to transmission lines. There was no loss of life or injury to anyone in the district, an official spokesman said. A youth was washed away in a stream (nullah) and two others were injured in a flash flood triggered by heavy rains today in Pancheri area of Udhampur district. A load carrier (vehicle No. JK14A- 4393) carrying two bovine animals and some passengers was on its way to Kainth Gali from Batota when the water level of a stream (nullah) at Kultiar in Pancheri tehsil suddenly increased due to heavy rains during wee hours, police officials said. In the flash flood, Angrez Singh (25) was washed away and two others were injured. The injured have been shifted to district hospital Udhampur. One Gorkhu Ram, son of Lajju, resident of Sira Chenani washed away in a nallah today. His body was recovered in the evening. In Dhanu village of Udhampur, 105 sheep of a nomad were killed due to hailstorm last night. The Administration rushed a team of police and Veterinary doctors there. Reports from Ramban said that in the incessant rains during the last 24 hrs have damaged property of the inhabitants of the district Ramban. According to DDC Ramban Farooq Shah Bukhari a total number of 12 residential structures which includes one pucca and 11 kacha houses have been damaged due to rains. Seven shops and two houses were damaged due to land slides at Banihal. At Chandrog Maitra as many as 5 residential houses and a mosque have been rendered unsafe due to the land slide in the area adjoining river Chenab. Deputy Commissioner Kathua Dr Shahid Iqbal said that due to heavy rains at least 15 Kacha houses are reported to be fully damaged, 82 Kacha houses partially damaged and 5 Kacha houses are severely damaged. In Sub Division Bani 7 Kachha houses are reported to be fully damaged, 5 Kachha houses severely damaged and 19 kaccha houses have been partially damaged besides 1 cattle shed is reported to be damaged in the area. In Sub-Division Hiranagar, two Kacha houses are reported to be partially damaged and in tehsil Dinga-Amb, one Kacha house is reported to be fully damaged besides 14 numbers of livestock have been reported to be dead due to heavy rains. In Sub-Division Billawar, 20 Kacha houses were partially damaged and one cattle shed damaged, besides 24 livestock were reported dead. In Tehsil Lohai Malhar 27 Kacha houses have been reported to be partially damaged whereas in Tehsil Ramkote 3 Kacha houses fully damaged and 10 Kucha houses are reported to be partially damaged. In Basohli 4 Kacha houses have been reported to be fully damaged whereas, in tehsil Mahanpur 2 cattle sheds have also been reported to be damaged, 4 Kacha houses partially damaged and as many as 7 deaths of livestock animals were also reported. In tehsil Kathua, 7 livestock animals were reported dead due to heavy rains.