NEW DELHI: Incessant rains for the last four days has exacerbated the flood fury in Jammu and Kashmir leaving 20 killed, 47 feared dead, hundreds stranded and thousands facing the crisis. The continuous heavy rains have led to many areas inundated with water and houses, hospitals and roads submerged.

While the continuous heavy rains have triggered heavy floods across the State, South Kashmir is worse hit, not to say that other areas are any better. Around 100 villages got submerged due to heavy floods in North Kashmir’s Baramulla, Bandipora and Kupwara districts. Five bridges and properties worth crores have also been damaged by the floods.

Over 100 houses and buildings have suffered damage in Rajouri and Udhampur districts, official reports said. Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained closed along with several inter-districts road in Doda, Ramban, Rajouri and Poonch districts due to floods, the reports added.

In Jammu, most of the rivers are flowing above the danger mark and it is on red alert. The officials said while Chenab is flowing at 38 feet which is 4 ft above danger mark of 34 feet discharge 2.75 lakh cusecs while Tawi is flowing at 13.5 feet against danger mark of 17 feet with discharge of 92000 cusecs.

Further, even Vaishnodevi pilgrims were injured in landslides in the Trikuta Hills in Reasi district on Thursday, officials added and the yatra has been suspended.
“Keeping in view the safety of pilgrims in the wake of incessant torrential rains and also considering the weather forecast, Yatra to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine from Katra has been temporarily suspended from 4.00 PM today till further notice,” a spokesman of Board said.

Although the government claims to be doing all they can to help the affected people, little can be seen on the ground, other than closing all schools and colleges till September 7. It is only necessary to mention here that the MeT department had already predicted the situation but the government didn’t take an account of it.

It is rather ironical that when the authorities should be coming forward to help the stranded and the homeless in every possible way , it is rather the people themselves who are supporting and assisting each other.

In a bid to tackle flood and save their area from getting inundated, the residents of Barzulla pooled in money and hired a JCB to notch the embankment. Resident of Barzulla alleged that the district administration did not oblige to their repeated requests for help. “We sought help from the administration and approached every department but nobody came forward. We pooled in money and hired a JCB that cut through the embankment,” one resident said.

“The high alert was sounded when the water level reached above the danger level. Till then government was watching it as a mute spectator,” said another local. “The locals of adjoining areas started rescue operation on their own to evacuate the people,” he added.

Confirming it and trying to save themselves, a district official said that their “rescue team was on way but the locals did it themselves without waiting for the team”, adding that “the locals did a wonderful job and we appreciate it”.

In another incident of government’s apathy, hundreds of people protested at Potha and Shankar Nagar mohalla of Poonch alleging that that District administration did not cooperate with them. Mohd Iqbal, one of the protesters said “The water entered our houses and we were homeless since yesterday but nobody from district administration approached us”, adding that they weren’t even offered drinking water. He said that the officials claim are absolutely false.

Affirming that the government failed to reach the affected people, the local MLA of the Homshalibugh constituency in district Kulgam condemned the government further announcing that he himself will pay for the boats that were used to rescue the affected people.

MLA Homshalibugh, Abdul Gaffal Sofi alleged that government has not reached the affected areas and said that he has reports that people are doing everything on their own. “In this situation I have told my workers to arrange boats to rescue people,” Sofi said adding “I will myself pay for the boats.

Similar stories can be heard from affected people who state that though they were sending SOS messages asking for rescue teams and boats to shift them to safer places, not much aid was received.

On the other hand, Army in Kashmir has launched massive rescue mission to evacuate people from flood affected areas to safer places, an Army spokesman said in a statement.

He said large number of people have already been taken to safety and nonstop effort is on to extricate people caught in critical conditions.

Giving details, the statement said troops of 1RR is operating eight columns in villages Sangam, Hasan Pura Bagh, Shamsipura, Turktachlu, Khudwani, Ledwani, Howrah and Quimoh. 80-100 (around 15 families in Turktachlu and Shamsipura) people rescued and shifted to unaffected villages. Sand bags distributed to affected villages. 25 children and 30 adults were also rescued using tyre, tubes, ropes at Muslim Mohalla, KP road, Anantnag.

Inspite of losing one of its own Inspector from BSF and one sepoy from RR battalion in rescue operations, the Army continued relentless operations in these far flung areas. If reports are to be believed the Army troops rescued 2000 people yesterday , but still, at least 45 are missing and hundreds of others are stranded in remote areas of the state.

The Army has even launched “OPERATION MEGH RAHAT” in the area of Nowshera, Rajouri, Thanamandi and Poonch districts in coordination with civil district authorities.

The havoc that these floods have created, the destruction caused by the incessant rains in the state of J&K can even be witnessed through the social media. The social media is overflowing with statuses and comments from the people on the ground sharing their personal experiences and dispensing the massive level of ruination that this calamity has caused.

It can only be hoped that the situation gets a little under control and more lives are not lost.