Seven villagers died and at least 20 are missing following a cloudburst at Honjar village in Decchan area of Jammu and Kashmir's Kishtwar district on early Wednesday morning.
Several structures, including a ration depot and eight homes, were swept away by flash floods after heavy rain in this mountainous region of Jammu province.
Initial reports said all inmates of eight houses were swept away due to cloudbursts followed by massive flash floods. Some of them have been rescued by the local administration.
"As of now, seven bodies have been recovered. We do not have the exact details of the tragedy because there is no mobile connectivity. The exact picture would emerge only after we reach the spot," said K L Sharma, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Kishtwar when contacted by IB Times India.
Sharma along with the rescue team is on the way to reach the worst affected Honjar village. "It will take nearly four-hour to reach the spot-on foot from the last road connectivity," Sharma said adding, "Due to incessant rains we are facing it difficult to reach the spot."
"At around 3.30 am on Wednesday, a cloud burst over Honjar village in Dacchan area of the district. We are getting reports that 20 people are missing. A search and rescue operation has been launched," he informed.
Cloudburst in Kargil too
A mini hydroelectric project and some houses are reportedly damaged due to a cloudburst in Khangral village, about 60 kilometers from Kargil town. There are also reports of a second cloudburst at Sangra village of Sanku sub-division of Kargil. No loss of life has been reported from Kargil.
Centre closely monitoring situation
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that the central government is closely monitoring the situation in Kishtwar and Kargil following cloudbursts.
"Central Government is closely monitoring the situation in the wake of the cloudbursts in Kishtwar and Kargil. All possible assistance is being made available in the affected areas. I pray for everyone's safety and well-being," Prime Minister Modi tweeted
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and J&K police chief Dilbag Singh. Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh said the air force has been contacted for lifting the injured when required.
Bad weather hampering rescue operation
Bad weather is hampering the rescue operation, with several rescue teams waiting at airports, said VK Singh, a top official of Home Guard, Civil Defence, and State Disaster Response Force.
The village is a four-hour journey on foot from the last road connectivity, so authorities have decided to depute rescue teams via choppers.
Alert issued as Chenab water level rises
The water level has increased in the mighty Chenab River of Jammu and Kashmir due to heavy rainfall in the region. Deputy Commissioner, Ramban has advised people not to venture anywhere near riverbanks of all water-bodies.
"River Chenab is flowing far higher than its normal water level. People are again advised not to venture anywhere near riverbanks of all water-bodies in District Ramban. Remain Vigilant and Alert," tweeted Deputy Commissioner Ramban.
Similarly, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Jammu has issued an advisory due to heavy rainfall in the Kathua district. "In view of heavy rainfall in Kathua district, the water level in most of the rivers and nallahs is continuously rising. So there is every apprehension of flash floods. People are advised to stay at home and not to move towards any river/nallah," IGP tweeted.
Central Government is closely monitoring the situation in the wake of the cloudbursts in Kishtwar and Kargil. All possible assistance is being made available in the affected areas. I pray for everyone’s safety and well-being.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 28, 2021