South Kashmir has been lashed by heavy rainfall for the last few days and the water level of Jhelum river crossed the danger mark on Friday, June 29. Several areas remain inundated and those living in low-lying regions have been asked to remain alert as there may be evacuation orders. The Amarnath Yatra too has been suspended.
The Chief Engineer of Kashmir Irrigation and Flood Control (I&FC) Department, Mir Muhammad Shahnawaz, confirmed the flood alert and said:
After crossing the line of 21, we are declaring the flood alert. The way it is raining it seems the level will further rise and cross the danger line of 21. We have already deputed the staff on the ground. They are continuously monitoring the water levels at different places," Kashmir Reader quoted Shahnawaz as saying.
The I&FC Department has alerted citizens of a flood-like situation in Sangam as the gauge readings of the Jhelum river have been consistently rising since Friday morning.
"The habitation residing along the embankments of River Jhelum / Nallah and in low lying areas of South Kashmir are advised to remain vigilant. Besides, the staff deputed on flood duty in South Kashmir is directed to report to their respective sectors/beats," the Irrigation and Flood Control Department statement read.
Helplines for those affected by the deluge
Jammu and Kashmir Police have set up helplines in Anantnag and Kulgam districts of South Kashmir for those affected and left stranded in the deluge.
Helpline numbers for those affected in Anantnag
Helpline numbers for those affected in Kulgam
Authorities have stressed that anyone in need of assistance can call these numbers and seek the required assistance. The helplines shall remain functional round-the-clock to tackle the situation arising from the inclement weather situation prevalent in these districts.
Rescue efforts underway
Meanwhile, the police personnel, with the help SDRF have rescued 165 students of Govt Boys School Hirpora, Shopian who were trapped in the deluge. Six more people trapped in Tawi river too have been rescued by a team of SDRF and Civil Defence in Jammu.
The gauge readings at 7 pm on Friday were shared on Twitter through the official I&FC Department Twitter handle:
29 June 2018
i. Sangam = 22.05 ft
ii. Ram Munshibagh = 14.34 ft
iii. Asham = 5.16 ft
i. Vishow Nallah at Khudwani = 9.19 m
ii. Rambiyara Nallah at Vachi = 3.96 m
iii. Lidder Nallah at Batkoot = 1.64 m
Despite the warnings, the local Meteorological Department had said that there is a chance of improvement in the weather conditions from Saturday morning.
The government order of the declaration of floods:
This is not the first time that the Jhelum river has crossed the danger mark. In September 2014, torrential rain had led to massive flooding in the Kashmir valley. Over 277 people in India and nearly 280 people in Pakistan had lost their lives during the flooding. The damage to the property was also estimated to be around Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 crore.