Kashmir disaster: 6 Lakh in difficulties, Near 50,000 Rescued
Almost 200 people have died in the state’s worst floods in 60 years. With the weather clearing, 61 Air Force choppers and transport aircraft have made non-stop sorties through the night and on Tuesday to carry men, equipment like boats and cutters, and relief material, including medicines and bottled water.Mammoth multi-agency rescue efforts were underway in Jammu and Kashmir today to rescue lakhs of people trapped in flood-ravaged areas, with IAF choppers and transport aircraft undertaking non-stop sorties overnight to carry men and relief material to submerged parts .Two more units of Army and NDRF have been airdropped to Pancheri in Udhampur where 30 people are missing after a landslide hit the area.
“Seven bodies and a limb of a person have been so far recovered in Udhampur but the operation to locate those trapped is very difficult,” DIG Gareeb Dass said.
However, the situation in the rest of Jammu belt has stabilised and the focus is now on providing relief material on the ground, officials said.
They said a massive rescue and relief operation is on in Kashmir valley with more helicopters and rescue material including boats pressed into service.The Home Ministry has set up a control room in Srinagar to monitor flood relief operations and additional teams of the NDRF have been sent to the region.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah described the current floods as the worst in 109 years, adding, “I understand the anger and frustration but it is not true that nothing is being done. There will always be some dissatisfaction when something like this happens. I know people have lost everything, we promise to rehabilitate them. No relief and rehab camps can be perfect. We are doing all we can,” he said.
The Army said the J&K national highway, which links the valley to the rest of the country will take about four to five days to open again. The 300-km-long national highway has been closed to vehicular traffic for five days because of landslides and floods. The Srinagar-Leh highway was opened today.
The Army said 10 to 15 people are being brought out in every round that a rescue boat makes into inundated areas where people are trapped in their homes and other buildings. Each boat is making 50 to 60 rounds a day. “We will move out only after rescuing everybody,” Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag said. The Army has also set up medical camps and said their doctors are treating 200-300 people every day.
Seven helicopters have been pressed to ferry relief material to Rajouri, Poonch, Reasi, Mahore, Doda and Kishtwar belts, officials said. Naval commandos have also been deployed for the first time.
Two units of the Army and National Disaster Response Force teams have been airdropped in Pancheri, Udhampur, where 30 people are missing after a landslide hit the area. Seven bodies have been recovered so far, but the operation to locate those in Udhampur is very tough said officials.
However, the situation in the Jammu region has stabilised and the focus is now on providing relief material on the ground, officials said. 68 relief camps have been set up in Jammu.
The prime ministers of India and Pakistan have offered to help each other in efforts to alleviate the flood havoc in Kashmir. Nearly 200 people have been killed in floods and rain-related incidents in Pakistan.