J&K floods: PM Narendra Modi reviews situation, to visit the state on Sunday

In the wake of the worst flood in 50 years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday to personally assess the damage caused by floods in the state, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in an official statement.

J&K floods: PM Narendra Modi reviews situation, to visit the state on Sunday

New Delhi: In the wake of the worst flood in 50 years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday to personally assess the damage caused by floods in the state, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in an official statement.

The PMO's statement on social networking website Twitter appeared as: "PM will visit Jammu & Kashmir tomorrow to take stock of the situation & understand problems faced by people due to the unfortunate floods." 

The PMO further tweeted: “PM called for a review meeting to assess the situation. The meeting was attended by the Cabinet Secretary and other officials.”

“The PM was briefed by the Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh after the Hon'ble Minister returned from his visit to Jammu and Kashmir,” it added.

According to media reports, the PM will first travel to Jammu where he will undertake an aerial survey.

Later in the day, he will go to Kashmir and take stock of the situation.

Modi, while condoling the deaths in the flood, on Thursday announced Rs 2 lakh as ex-gratia relief for the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the seriously injured.

The visit takes place a day after Home Minister Rajnath Singh's tour of the state which has been hit badly by the floods, claiming the lives of over 100 people.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, visited the state today to take stock and discuss the situation with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and senior officials in Srinagar, assured all help to the state. The Congress meanwhile urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare the floods a national calamity.

The weather office said weather will improve from Sunday.

"From Sunday onwards, Jammu and Kashmir will have clear weather for the next one week. As the system has already started weakening, we can safely say the worst is over," Met office director Sonam Lotus told IANS.

Rajnath Singh said that 107 people have been killed, noting floods of this magnitude have hit Jammu and Kashmir after 60 years and 2,500 villages were affected.

"I want to assure the people and the government of Jammu and Kashmir that the central government stands besides you in your hour of crisis and we extend all necessary help to you," the minister, who was accompanied by Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Jitendra Singh - an MP from the state, told media persons at Jammu airport.

He said Abdullah told him the topmost concern was the safety of human lives and to evacuate those trapped. The chief minister also expressed concern that paddy, maize, vegetables and fruit crops over a large area have been destroyed, while much of public infrastructure and private property were damaged.

Revenue Secretary Vinod Koul earlier said that 390 villages in the Valley were submerged and 1,225 partially affected while at least 1,000 villages were affected in Jammu region.

He said that 50 bridges, hundreds of kilometers of roads and power installations units were damaged but a final assessment could be made only after the flood waters receded. Koul said the state urgently needs 25,000 tents and 40,000 blankets.

The toll in the Jammu region has risen to 120 following the death of 14 people in a landslide in Rajouri Friday, while many more are missing.

Both the Chenab and Tawi rivers were flowing above the danger mark Saturday morning, with three bridges on Tawi were closed for traffic as they were declared unsafe, officials said. One, built in May, was later washed away. A bridge over the Chenab in Akhnoor (Jammu district) was closed Friday.

Five people trapped in flood waters in Sidhra area of Jammu city were rescued Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, the Mata Vaishno Devi Yatra in Reasi remained suspended for the third day Saturday. Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board CEO M.K. Bhandari told reporters that more than 25,000 pilgrims are camped in the base town, Katra, as landslides have blocked the mountain trek.

The Jammu-Srinagar national highway remained closed as well as roads from Jammu to Poonch, Doda and Kishtwar. Electricity supply to Poonch, Rajouri, Doda, Kishtwar, Reasi, Ramban, Samba, Kathua and Udhampur districts has been badly affected during the last four days. 

Authorities now confirmed that 60 members of a marriage party were killed in Rajouri Thursday when flash floods washed away their bus near Lam, 17 km from Noushera town, while 60 people have died due to landslides and flash floods in Poonch, Reasi, Rajouri, Doda and Udhampur districts upto Friday.

In the Kashmir Valley, a cloudburst in the Sonamarg mountains led to the water rising in the Sindh stream, threatening hundreds of low-lying villages in Ganderbal district. The district administration assisted by army evacuated hundreds of people from the area.

Thousands of people in hundreds of villages, especially in the south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama, have abandoned their homes and livestock to move to safer places. So far, 20 people have been killed in the Valley, according to officials.

Meanwhile, seven of the nine soldiers who were trapped by flood waters after their boat capsized in Pulwama, 30 km from Srinagar, have been rescued, police said. 

With agency inputs