Heavy rainfall in Jammu and Kashmir brought life to a standstill on Wednesday as it triggered flash floods and landslides in several districts of the union territory. Incessant rains also forced the authorities to shut schools in several districts including Doda, Kishtwar, and Ramban. People were evacuated from low-lying areas and the Jammu-Srinagar national highway remained blocked for the second consecutive day due to landslides and mudslides leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded.
In Kashmir, the Jhelum crossed the danger mark at Sangam in the Anantnag district and the water level was rising in other rivers also. A high alert has been sounded in areas close to river Chenab and its tributaries, officials told news agency PTI.
The higher reaches of the region, including the Amarnath shrine, have witnessed a dip in the day temperature substantially due to snowfall.
Earlier in the day, Jammu and Kashmir Police rescued 50 passengers travelling in 10 vehicles who got trapped due to snowfall and heavy rains in the Kishtwar district. “Snowfall and heavy rains triggered flash-floods in Simthan top area following which 50 passengers including some women and children, were stranded. The police got the track cleared and after a lot of hard work rescued all the passengers,” an official said.
The water level at Sangam in the Anantnag district was measured at 21.60 ft, marginally above the 21-feet mark for flood declaration, officials said, adding that the Vaishov stream, which flows mainly through Kulgam district, was flowing dangerously above the flood alert mark. However, the water level has started receding since 10 am.
A breach was reported in a temporary diversion along the banks of Vaishov stream as Chamgund in Kulgam, officials said, adding many areas of the district have been flooded.
Police stations Yaripora, Kund, Devsar and police post Mirbazar received the distress calls for assistance from the people residing in higher reaches of Kanchloo Kund, and on the banks of Vaishow and Sunman Nallahs stated that 24 families residing in temporary tents needs to be evacuated immediately as their residential places were completely damaged because of heavy rainfall and the families living on the banks of Vaishow and Sunman Nallahs were stucked due to flash floods.
“On tip off, police teams under the close supervision of SSP Kulgam were constituted to rescue the families. With strenuous efforts of the police parties deputed all the 24 families were evacuated and have been shifted to safer places,” an official statement reads.
Schools in many parts of the valley were closed due to the heavy rains which resulted in waterlogging in low-lying areas. Many houses in the Bemina, Rambagh, and Rajbagh areas of the city were affected due to water logging.
A group of 14 trekkers was stranded near Tarser Lake in south Kashmir and a rescue team was rushed to the spot from Pahalgam. The snowfall in the upper reaches and rains in the plains have sent the mercury nosediving and Srinagar witnessed its coldest June day in almost 50 years, according to available data.
An incident of house collapse was also reported from Ramban district, while five people trapped in flash floods in river Ans in Reasi district were rescued by the police, officials said.
The Doda district administration has declared high alert in several areas in the mountainous district.
Besides Doda, the deputy commissioners of Ramban and Kishtwar districts have also ordered the closure of all educational institutions up to higher secondary level including private schools for the day, an official said.
Officials said one kutcha house in Dachhan collapsed but all its occupants were safe. “As a part of advisory in view of hostile weather conditions and reports submitted by tehsildars, I have directed CEO Kishtwar to close all educational institutions in District Kishtwar today. We will assess the situation later in the day for further decision,” said District Development Commissioner Kishtwar Ashok Sharma.
“As of now, there is no report of any damage from any part of the district,” the DDC said. The deputy commissioners of these districts have issued advisories asking people to remain indoors in view of the flood-like situation developed in the mountainous belts.
According to a weather office forecast, heavy rain is predicted in the Kishtwar district which may cause temporary disruption of air and surface traffic mainly on the national highway and hilly roads, besides land landslides and shooting stones in vulnerable spots of the highway, according to the advisory issued by the district administration.
The district administrations have also issued helpline numbers in case of any emergency.
(with inputs from PTI)