J&K BATTLING WITH FLOODS; WATER BEGINS TO RECEDE, RELIEF OPERATIONS IN FULL-SWING
Massive multi-agency relief operations are in full swing in J&K
NEW DELHI: Jammu and Kashmir is struggling with the worst ever floods in many decades, in fact in a century according to the state’s Chief Minister. The situation seems to be ameliorating a bit with the torrential waters beginning to recede and the massive multi-agency relief operations in full swing.
However, there are about four lakh people still marooned according to officials and villages, hospitals, houses still submerged. Also, the communication lines continue to remain disrupted making it extremely difficult to reach out to the stranded people. Further, even the power supply continue to remain collapsed.
This is for the first time that Naval commandos have been deployed along with the Army, Air-Force, NDRF and para-military. Over 49,000 people have so far been rescued and the Centre has asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to list their names on its website.
The Army has deployed 329 columns of its personnel for rescue and relief operations, in which 244 columns are deployed in Srinagar region while 85 are in Jammu region.
A total of 61 IAF choppers and transport aircraft undertook 451 sorties non-stop overnight to carry men, boats relief material including medicines and bottled water to submerged parts of the Valley where about one lakh troops were engaged in the rescue operations, said the Defence Spokesman Col SD Goswami.
While seven helicopters have been pressed to ferry relief material to Rajouri, Poonch, Reasi, Mahore, Doda, Kishtwar belts, two units of the Army and NDRF teams were airdropped in Pancheri, Udhampur yesterday where 30 people are missing after a landslide hit the area. Seven bodies have been recovered so far, but the operation to locate those in Udhampur is very tough said officials.
However, the situation in the Jammu region has stabilised and the focus is now on providing relief material on the ground, officials said.
Sixty eight relief camps have been set up in Jammu in order to provide relief for the displaced.
Srinagar, one of the worst hit by the floods is improving a bit, says officials. The water levels have started receding in Srinagar city, facilitating rescue workers to pluck out another 29,000 persons to safety.
However, there are many areas which continue to remain engulfed in the deluge. No rescue operations have started in Guni Khan Mohalla, Amirakadal, Iqbal park, Tulsi bagh area, Mousumi, Jawahar Nagar in Srinagar city. Thousands of people are trapped in these areas in 10 to 15 ft water level.
Forty students are still trapped in Youth Hostel, Jawahar Nagar area of Srinagar. No rescue team has reached them and the water level has reached the third floor.
South Kashmir, the worst-affected in these floods have also not been reached. No rescue operation has been launched here-be it Pulwama, Pampore, Kakapora or Lassipora, Sangam and Awantipura.
But the rescue operations by the Army and other forces are in full swing ,now, on a war-footing.
Army Chief Gen Dalbir Suhag had said in that “Soldiers won’t return to barracks until last man is helped.” He will be visiting J&K to review the rescue operations.
Stating that the Army is treating around 200-300 people every day, the Army Medical Officer Jagdish Singh said, “We have set up medical camps. We have ambulances and surgeons. District hospitals and NGOs are also working with us,” he said.
The communication lines continue to remain disrupted with almost no connection at all with the affected people. The officials, however, say that the telecom network is likely to be restored partially today.
BSNL has launched an operation on a war-footing with Army and IAF to restore mobile services through satellite network.
Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth said 2,500 mobile phone towers are down and efforts are on "overtime" to get them work.
State Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said " The flood situation is very serious in the state”.
He further stated “Neither I have brought rain nor I can stop it. No time for politics today. If they (opposition) have solution to the problem then they can inform me”.
Describing the floods as the worst in 109 years, the Chief Minister said "I understand the anger and frustration but it is not true that nothing is being done. There will always be some dissatisfaction when something like this happens. I know people have lost everything, we promise to rehabilitate them. No relief and rehab camps can be perfect. We are doing all we can”.
Meanwhile, Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha has written to the Prime Minister seeking to further speed up relief and rescue operations in Jammu and Kashmir.