J&K floods: Over 45,000 people rescued, lakhs still stranded
Massive rescue operations continued in the flood-hit area of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday as weather conditions improved even as the death toll crossed 200 in the worst floods that the state has seen in the last 60 years.
Srinagar: About four lakh people were still stranded and desperate for help on Tuesday in flood-ravaged Kashmir Valley where heavy rains have eased to help scale up the massive multi-agency rescue and relief efforts in which over 47,000 people have been safely evacuated.
As the miseries faced by people, some of them perched on rooftops, in the worst floods to hit Jammu and Kashmir in six decades unfolded, the death toll in the floods, landslides and house collapses triggered by torrential monsoon rains since Tuesday last was stated to be around 200.
Authorities were also trying to fix the telecommunication links snapped since Sunday afternoon on a war footing and hope to restore it in a phased manner.
"The big problem that is hampering rescue activities in the Valley is that telecom links have become dysfunctional... The Department of Telecommunications(DOT) is trying its best to restore the links quickly," an official said.
Officials said shortage of boats was also affecting rescue operations.
A total of 61 IAF choppers and transport aircraft undertook 451 sorties non-stop overnight to carry men and relief material to submerged parts of the Valley where about one lakh troops were engaged in the rescue operations, Defence Spokesman Col SD Goswami told PTI in Jammu.
State-run Pawan Hans Helipoters Limited and private chopper firms have joined the massive rescue operation in the state. Air India has kept two aircraft on standby to rescue passengers from flooded area and carry relief materials.
Meanwhile, the Indian Army restored the Srinagar-Leh Highway, which connects Kashmir valley with Ladakh.
From the official Twitter handle, the Indian Army tweeted that over 32,000 people have been saved so far in the state.
— ADG PI - INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) September 9, 2014
Also, at least seven US nationals have been rescued from the Kashmir area.
Taking note of the flood situation, the United Nations (UN) has offered to help both India and Pakistan in their rescue and relief efforts to lakhs of affected people, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told PTI .
Landslides in Jammu's Udhampur district left seven people dead and over 40 still trapped.
The highways in the state are likely to be functional after three days, as per news reports.
The Army is focusing on evacuating people from Srinagar where Internet, electricity and phone connections have been disrupted due to massive floods.
Most of the residential and commercial areas of the city have been submerged in flood water making it difficult for people to contact for help.
30 sorties of IL-76 and AN 32 have been undertaken to Srinagar overnight to carry men and relief material, boats cutters and other equipment besides huge quantity of medicines and water bottles.
While television and radio stations were cut off, the mobile towers were damaged as well.
Around 30 boats have reached the state capital today from Tamil Nadu and efforts are being made to restore communication lines.
The rising water levels have flooded areas including Lal Chowk, Army cantonment, Civil Secretariat and roads including airport road, Exhibition Crossing, Hari Singh High Street, Lal Chowk and Regal Chowk are submerged under several feet of water.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan today announced an aid of Rs 10 crores from CM's Relief Fund to help the state in the wake of the crisis.
Floods in J&K are devastating & my thoughts are with everyone there. I’ve announced aid of Rs 10 crores from CM's Relief Fund #KashmirFloods
— Prithviraj Chavan (@prithvrj) September 9, 2014
The Odisha government also announced a financial assistance of Rs 5 crores for the flood victims.
While addressing a press conference yesterday, Army Chief Gen Dalbir Suhag and General Officer Commanding (GOC) Northern Command Lt Gen DS Hooda said, “Soldiers won't return to barracks until last man is helped.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the state on Sunday to personally review the situation and had announced a special package of Rs 1,000 crores. He had term the calamity as a “national” disaster.
Modi had offered to help in in flood relief efforts in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir after torrential rains and floods wreaked havoc.
In a reply to Modi, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif thanked him and called the gesture “thoughtful”.
The Government has set up control rooms in Delhi, Jammu and Srinagar to facilitate relief and rescue operations and aid those who are stranded in the floods in Jammu and Kashmir.
With PTI inputs