The untimely rains and snow over the last couple of days in Jammu and Kashmir has inundated roads in Srinagar and other districts and swollen the Jhelum river where water is flowing above the danger mark of 18 feet. The authorities at the Irrigation and Flood Control Department have sounded a flood alert in Srinagar and other districts of South Kashmir as many tributaries of Jhelum river were reportedly flowing above danger levels.
The temperatures have plummeted below 15 degrees Celcius in the summer month of June signalling climate change in Kashmir which is also the reason for the recurrent floods. The valley had witnessed the worst floods in 2014 which left nearly 200 people dead and more than 80,000 lost their homes.
Authorities said that in North Kashmir areas of Tangmarg, Bandipora and Baramulla, bridges have been swept away by the overflowing water from the mountain and river streams whereas many apple orchards in Baramulla have reportedly received substantial damage. In the tourist spot of Sonamarg, nearly 100 cattle, mostly sheep, were killed lightning.
"Flood alert was declared in the afternoon and we are monitoring the situation. So far water is coming from the flood spills and the levels are also increasing. We hope it will start receding later in the night," the Chief Engineer of I&FC, Kashmir, Ashok Kumar Sharma, told Greater Kashmir.
The Meteorological Department has predicted light to moderate spell of rains, thunder and snowfall in the next 24 hours throughout the valley.
Many people living in low-lying areas of Srinagar and outskirts are facing problems due to water inundation and are unable to move of out their houses. The locals say that the claims made by the authorities of constructing better roads and flood banks lie flat as every year the valley witnesses the problem even after a brief stint of snow or rains.
To others, an advertisement put out by the state Tourism Department of inviting tourists to enjoy the weather in Kashmir came in as a shock especially when the current temperature change in the valley signals an important concern of climate change which has been described as abnormal by geologists.
"On one hand, the locals here are suffering due to lack of proper infrastructure and we see the state government inviting others to enjoy here. This is insanity. From the last five years, we have seen no marked improvement in the flood management infrastructure and disaster relief in the valley," said Irfan Ahmad, a Srinagar resident.