Srinagar: The Kashmir Valley faces no flood threat, authorities said on Sunday, as many residents of Srinagar began shifting to safer areas as the water level in the Jhelum rose menacingly.
The Jhelum's level reached 12 feet at the Ram Manshibagh in Srinagar overnight following incessant rains, triggering panic in many parts of Srinagar that faced unprecedented floods in September 2014, killing over 200 people and affecting some 700,000 residents.
Sonam Lotus, director of the meteorological office, on Sunday dismissed any flood threat to the Kashmir Valley.
His word should bring relief to residents in Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar and Gogjibagh areas of Srinagar, many of who began shifting valuables to homes of friends and relatives in the old city part of Srinagar on Sunday.
The flood control department, which is on high alert, told IANS that the present water level in Jhelum was much below the danger mark of 18 feet at Ram Munshibagh and so there was no reason to panic.
"We have kept the entire administration including the flood control department on alert," Gazanfar Hussain, Kashmir's divisional commissioner, told reporters here. "There is no reason to panic."
Official assurances, however, mean little to the people of flood-prone areas where the September 2014 flooding caused widespread destruction. The scars and memories of that period still haunt the locals.
Lotus told IANS on Sunday: "Although there has been a rise in the water level of rivers and streams in the Kashmi Valley due to overnight incessant rains, there is no reason to worry.
"Every downpour and precipitation does not bring a flood. There is little likelihood of any flood in the valley because of the current western disturbance. There will be a decrease in precipitation tomorrow onwards.
"Another western disturbance is likely to hit the state on April 2 but that is going to be weaker than the present one.
"Therefore, I do not think we are facing a flood threat this time although mountain streams need to be watched for any sudden rise that can cause local damage and trigger landslides."
Lotus, however, advised people to exercise caution on the Srinagar-Jammu highway which he said could get blocked due to landslides in Ramban district.