Jammu: The Army has launched a rescue and relief operation for the people hit by flash floods and landslides triggered by heavy rains in Jammu region.
"Due to incessant rains during the past 48 hours, the Army has launched 'Operation Megh Rahat' in Naoshera, Rajouri, Thanamandi and Poonch districts in coordination with civil authorities for search, rescue and relief of people," a Defence spokesman said here on Thursday.
The operation also focuses on keeping the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and inter-district roads open, he said.
More than 250 people have been rescued since yesterday, he said.
The spokesman said despite the death of Sepoy Balbir Singh during rescue operations at Poonch today, the Army's attempt to save lives continues in these areas.
In Rajouri, Thanmandi and Poonch, the Army continues to rescue civilians caught in flash floods or landslides, he said.
Army yesterday rescued 108 civilians from far-flung areas of Thanamandi, Poonch, Rajouri, Naoshera, Mohr and Budhal, he said, adding that the force is also providing medical aid to civilians in these areas, the spokesman said.
A family of three persons was rescued in Poonch in the morning. In a specific rescue operation, 20 civilians were rescued from Dhoks in general area Mohr Budhal.
In Gulabgarh Bowl, many civilians were rescued, he said, adding that one Mohd Rafiq was rescued from flash floods.
"Had it not been for Army, he would not have been saved from the deluge of rain and mud. The Army has been able to rescue almost 128 civilians till last report came in from difficult areas of Darshal, Potha, Daraba, Mangana, Darangala, Mandi Nala, Thanamandi and Saujian in Poonch, he added.
The national highway connecting Jammu-Banihal-Srinagar was closed for traffic yesterday due to heavy mud slide. The route has been opened till Banihal after efforts by Border Road Task Force.
The stretch of 18 km ahead of Ramban is at present being cleared of shooting stones by the BRTF, he said.
A bridge near Khanetar Nala in Poonch has been swept away and efforts are on to build it, the spokesman said.
In another initiative, Army has provided three engineer rescue parties to civil authorities at Saujian, Thanamandi and Poonch, he said.
A big generator has also been provided by the Army to Poonch to restore the water supply scheme for residents of Poonch town, he added.
A senior officer said rescue operations will continue irrespective of inclement weather and heavy rains.