Kashmir Floods: Omar Abdullah Holds All Party Meeting
At the meeting that was attended by PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti, Congress leader Saifuddin Soz and BJP’s Jugal Kishore and others, a joint appeal was issued to individuals as well as organizations within and outside the state to help affected people “in every possible way.”
The Chief Minister yesterday said that while 200 deaths have been confirmed, no estimate could be given about the exact death toll as yet.
Receding water in many areas is now beginning to reveal the real extent of the devastation. “Srinagar has drowned completely, it’s unrecognizable. Almost everything is in ruins, it is just unimaginable,” a State Disaster Response Force official said.
The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained closed for the tenth consecutive day today due to landslides and sinking of road at various places. However, educational institutions in Jammu, except those serving as relief camps for flood-affected people, reopened after almost a week yesterday. In flood-ravaged Srinagar, water has receded but there is still substantive flooding in certain areas.
With flood water receding, many of those stranded are reluctant to leave their homes. Mr Abdullah has said rescue operations have hence been “re-oriented” to help those people. Focus has now shifted to supplying relief material to those stranded.
The state government yesterday announced financial and other assistance for those hit by the disaster including a 200 crore package for both the Jammu region and the Kashmir valley. The chief minister also said the government would supply free ration to those affected for six months.
Telecom services are being normalized slowly – BSNL has restored around 80 per cent of the affected network. Other private players have also restored their network in various parts of the state.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to inform it on Monday about the steps being taken to accelerate rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations. It also asked the government to consider setting up a unified agency to coordinate relief work.
As the flood waters receded in Srinagar and other towns in the Valley, civil and military rescue personnel were expediting efforts to reach out to those still stranded since torrential rains pounded the state on September 2. One lakh 42 thousand people have been rescued so far.
The Election Commission said on Friday that it would take a decision on holding assembly elections in the state only after normalcy is restored.