Jammu and Kashmir is facing its worst flood crisis in nearly six decades, with over 100 people reported killed and nearly 10,000 still stranded as heavy rains have lashed the state in the last few days .
Latest Updates on J&K Floods - PM urged to Declare J&K Floods a 'Natural Calamity'
Nine Army jawans were reportedly washed away when their rescue boat capsized in the submerged region of Pulwama on Saturday. Rescues operations were on to find the soldiers. Whiles seven jawans have been rescued, two are still trapped in the floods, as per news reports.
Home minister Rajnath Singh arrived in Srinagar Saturday morning and held a meeting with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to take stock of the situation, and will soon conduct an aerial survey.
"I want to assure the people of Jammu and Kashmir that central government is with the state government, and we will provide all help possible," Singh told the media after arriving on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare Jammu and Kashmir floods a "National Calamity".
Worst Flood since 1959, Similar to Uttarakhand
The Indian Army deemed the situation in Jammu and Kashmir as bad as the Uttarakhand floods in 2013. This is being touted as the worst floods in the state since 1959, with visuals from across the state showing several areas, particularly Pulwama, Anantnag and Kulgam district in south Kashmir submerged.
Over the last five days, the state has been lashed by incessant rains causing the River Jhelum to flow several feet above the danger mark, submerging numerous localities in the worst-affected region of Srinagar. If flood waters haven't killed enough, the rains have also triggered dangerous landslides, destroying houses and killing many, including a BSF jawan who is reported to have been buried alive in his bunker that was caught in a landslide two days ago.
Just in the last 24 hours, more than 40 people have died in the floods and over 50 people travelling in a bus were washed away on Thursday.
No Respite, Rains to Continue
There seems to be no respite for residents in the state, as weather forecasts predicted heavy rainfall in the state for the next 24 hours, further appending woes and toll figures, and hampering rescue operations.
The flash floods have also caused immense destruction of infrastructure in the state, washing away roads and flattening houses. Power supply in several areas has also been disrupted.
Life Comes to Standstill
Schools and Colleges in the state have been shut since Monday, while pilgrimage yatras to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine from Katra have also been temporarily suspended.
1,000 vehicles have been reportedly stranded on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway since Friday.
Government, Army step in
Home Minister Rajnath Singh will visit the flood-hit state on Saturday to assess the situation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a relief package of ₹2 lakh for the family of those killed in the floods and ₹50,000 for those seriously injured.
The Army and the Air Force have been roped in for rescue efforts, and on Friday, in massive rescue operations, 6,000 people were evacuated from flood-hit regions.