CM monitoring situation; Poonch cut off, Army rescue 108 civilians in difficult areas BSF officer among 6 dead in flash flood, landslides in Jammu
JAMMU: A BSF officer was among six persons killed in landslides and flash floods triggered by heavy rain in Jammu region on Wednesday, while at least 23 villages have been flooded in the region and authorities have sounded flood alert. Over 100 people were also rescued from the flood-hit regions. “Six people have reported to have died, including a BSF officer in Jammu region in landslides and flash floods. Over 100 people have rescued from floods,” Divisional Commissioner, Jammu region, Shantmanu said. BSF Inspector Mohammad Rashid of 154 Battalion was buried alive in a bunker due to landslide in Mandi Mandir area along LoC in Poonch district, according to Inspector General of BSF, Jammu Frontier, Rakesh Sharma. Some other troops, who were also present in the bunker, manged to come out of it but Rashid got stuck and was buried beneath the debris. In Reasi district, five people including three children reportedly died after landslide hit them in far-flung Momankot belt of Reasi district, the Divisional Commissioner said. A team from Chasana belt has been rushed and will trek a distance of 55 km on foot to reach the spot, reports said. According to the Divisional Commissioner, a large number of houses and other buildings have been damaged in the flash floods, landslides and rains in Jammu region and an exact details will come by Thursday. Over 120 structures are hit in region in the past two days. Authorities have sounded high “flood alert” and warned people in the region against going towards the banks of rivers. Over 23 villages have also been flooded, the reports said. Authorities have deployed over a dozen of Disaster Management and rescue teams in all the districts of Jammu region and water level is being continuously monitored by the flood control rooms. A report from Poonch says that 40 houses were washed away as rains triggered flash floods and damaged Sher-e-Kashmir bridge in the district. A red alert has been sounded in the area. The region has been receiving rains for the past two days. The power supply and telecommunication services across the district were disrupted, while vehicular movement was suspended following extensive damage to roads and bridges at various places. The flood waters have damaged Sher-e-Kashmir bridge and many buildings near the bridge washed away which included a building having J&K Bank. Meanwhile, one person was washed away and nearly 40 residential, official and commercial structures damaged due to flash floods in Betar nullah and Suran river following heavy rains on the upper reaches of border Poonch district on Wednesday afternoon. The border district of Poonch was cut off from rest of the state following closure of its road link to Valley and the adjoining Rajouri district due to landslides and flash floods at various places. According to sources five members of a Gujjar family including four children and a woman died after their dhoks (temporary shelters for summer months) collapsed following landslides at Chasana in Reasi district this afternoon. The deceased children were in the age group of 2-7 years. Police parties from Reasi were rushed to the spot after news about the tragedy came in. The Sher-i-Kashmir bridge connecting Poonch town with Surankote was closed for vehicular traffic following extensive damage to protection bunds on both banks of river. The Jammu Kashmir Bank building and some residential houses near the bridge too sustained extensive damage due to flash floods. With rivers and nallahs in spate across the district, an alert was sounded and people living in low lying areas on the river side evacuated to safer places. In Surankote tehsil, the damage was extensive, with road connectivity to Buffliaz disrupted at many places following extensive damage to small bridges and culverts due to floods in Suran river. The flood waters had entered many a buildings on the river side in Surankote town, sources said. The Mendhar town too was cut off from both Poonch town and Bhimber Gali as bridges on both sides of the town were inundated by the local river. Pointing out that the flash floods came in the afternoon; sources said that a large number of people including school children were stranded in the outskirts on both sides of the town. The Mughal Road connecting Poonch with Valley was also closed following landslides, while the border districts road link with Rajouri district was snapped following extensive damage to roads due to flash floods at various places. An official spokesman said in Srinagar that Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah is personally monitoring the situation that has arisen due to incessant rain in the State creating flood threat in various areas. He has put the State Administration on high alert, directing them to be at the beck and call of the people wherever required. The Chief Minister directed the Divisional Commissioners to place senior officers on duty for monitoring the situation and initiate all necessary measures to safeguard the people. He directed them to keep control room operative round the clock so that there is close contact between the people and the concerned officers. Omar Abdullah received brief from the administration about the situation in Kulgam, Shopian, Baramulla, Surankote and other areas where water has increased to dangerous levels. He also received brief about the rescue and relief operations put in place by the administration to meet the challenges. He said that rescue operations on war-footing should be carried out wherever need arises. Under the directions of the Chief Minister, the State Administration has asked the Air Force authorities to keep aerial rescue plan in place for utilisation. Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained blocked for several hours on Wednesday due to landslides in Panthal area of Ramban District. “Landslides triggered by heavy rains at Panthal in Ramban District around 5:00 AM on Wednesday blocked the 300-km long National Highway, suspending vehicular traffic for brief period,” police said. The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) later cleared the landslide around 8:30 AM and the traffic was restored on the highway, they said.