20 killed in J&K floods; 50 more feared dead as bus washed away
After three days of incessant rain, the Omar Abdullah government in Jammu and Kashmir has sounded a flood alert in the state and asked the authorities to be prepared to meet any eventuality. Meanwhile, the death toll due to foods and landslides have reached 12.
Srinagar/Jammu: The toll in the incessant rains and flash floods in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday rose to 20, even as 45 others were feared dead after a bus carrying them was washed away in Rajouri district.
"So far 20 deaths have been reported in the state due to heavy rains and floods," Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather told reporters at a joint press conference with Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand in Srinagar.
Giving the breakup of the figures, Rather said two deaths each have been reported from Anantnag, Baramulla and Budgam districts in Kashmir Valley and seven from Poonch, six from Reasi and one from Doda in Jammu region.
Rather said 150 houses have been damaged in the floods.
"More than 50 houses are submerged in Anantnag district. 15 villages in Kulgam district are also inundated," he said.
The Minister said around 1,500 people were trapped in Asthal village in Kulgam and steps were being taken for their safety.
Over 50 people were today feared dead after a bus carrying a marriage party, including the bride and groom, was washed away in flash floods in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir.
The bus carrying over 50 people, mostly members of the marriage party, was crossing the Laam-Darhal-Moushera Road when it got washed away in the flash floods in Gambhir river, a senior Army officer said.
An Army unit, which immediately reached the spot after the mishap, rescued four people who had jumped off the bus, he said, adding that those rescued included the driver and conductor of the bus.
The Army immediately rushed a rescue column with specialist engineering staff, recovery vehicle and medical van to retrieve individuals almost all of whom are feared dead, the officer said in a statement here.
The four survivors were administered first aid, he said, adding rescue operations were on till late in the evening.
The driver told the Army team that there were nearly 50 people in the bus, the officer said.
The Army has launched an operation to search and rescue the victims, he said.
Confirming that 50 people were feared dead, SSP Mubasir Latiffee, also rushed to the spot along with a police team for the rescue work by both Army and Police.
Meanwhile, a truck was also washed away in flash floods in Noushera of Rajouri district, police said, adding details of the incident were awaited.
Minister of State for Home Sajjad Ahmed Kichloo expressed grief and sorrow over the loss of lives in the bus mishap.
Kichloo also expressed grief over the 20 deaths due to floods in various districts including Poonch, Reasi, Doda, Anantnag, Baramulla and Budgam.