Flood alert: Incessant rains inundate low areas in Kashmir, Army responds to distress call
Incessant rain and untimely snowfall in the plains on Thursday led to a flood-like situation in parts of Jammu and Kashmir where many low-lying areas across the Kashmir Valley were inundated while a flood was declared in Srinagar, where the Jhelum River crossed the danger mark.
Most low-lying areas in Srinagar city including Bemina, Jawahar Nagar, Rajbagh, Batmaloo and others have been facing serious water-logging problems and residents complained the accumulated rain water had started entering their homes in these areas.
The Army, which shares a tense relationship with locals, stepped in to help stranded villagers in some parts of the Valley.
A flood advisory asking people to remain vigilant was today issued for those living in south and central Kashmir after a rise in the water level of River Jhelum and its tributaries.
The heavy snowfalls triggered multiple avalanches in the state, burying Army Post in Batalik Sector. Five soldiers were buried in the avalanche, two of which have been rescued while rescue operation for three others is current;y underway.
Jhelum has crossed the 'alarm level' of 18 feet at Sangam in Anantnag district, officials said.
"We have issued the advisory after the water level in River Jhelum crossed the 18 feet mark at Sangam," a senior official of the Irrigation and Flood Control department told PTI.
He said although the water level was still rising in the river, the rate of increase had showed a downward trend in the past couple of hours.
"The rate of increase in the water level has shown a decline and it bodes well if the weather starts improving soon," the official said.
He said the water level at noon at Sangam was 18.40 feet while at Ram Munshi Bagh in the city it stood at 15.50 feet.
The heavy rainfall caused the village Nala in Kripalpur Pain, Pattan to overflow and breach the bund. This created potential danger of inundation of low lying areas.
The Army patrol responded to the distress call. They arranged stones and stopped further breach.
A vehicle load full of filled sandbags was rushed to contain the water. With the help of locals the breach was plugged in by the multiple layers of sandbags.
The Army had also played a major role during the floods in 2014.
The 2014 floods had caused widespread destruction in the valley as more than 300 persons were killed in the deluge that struck in the month of September.
According to MET department officials, Srinagar received 83.9 mm rain and snowfall over the past 24 hours while Kokernag in south Kashmir received 69.9 mm of rains in the corresponding period.
Pahalgam, also in south Kashmir, recorded rainfall of 64.2 mm of rains in the past 24 hours, the officials said.
The incessant rains have forced closure of the arterial Jammu-Srinagar National Highway as the downpour has triggered landslides and shooting stones at several places along the 300-km road.
Massive traffic jams were witnessed in many parts of the city as the road were inundated as drains were overflowing.
The divisional administration has pressed into service pumps and fire tenders to dewater the city roads.
The authorities have also closed down all schools in the valley till Sunday in view of the rain and snowfall at this time of the year.
The University of Kashmir and Islamic University have postponed all examinations for the day.
The Health Department has directed all district and block level officers to prepare for exigencies in case of flood.
Jammu and Kashmir police has also set up round-the-clock emergency help lines across the Valley and put its men on high alert to meet
"Emergency help lines have been established in control rooms across the Valley to provide help to the people (in case of floods).
These control rooms will remain open 24x7," a police spokesman said.
He said the department has put its men on "high alert to meet any possible challenge and eventuality".
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had earlier today directed for immediate constitution of a unified control room to monitor the situation arising out of incessant rains and unusual snowfall in the Valley for the past two days.