The flood situation in Kashmir continued to worsen as rain lashed most parts of the Valley on the fifth consecutive day.
As most rivers and streams in the Valley have crossed the danger mark, the rescue operations have become difficult. Police and army struggled to evacuate the people to safe places even as nine soldiers were trapped as their boat capsized during a rescue operation. Till the filing this report, seven soldiers were rescued and search was on for the missing two.
Meanwhile, no new casualties were reported from the Valley. "We have so far 11 confirmed deaths in the Valley,'' said Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Rohit Kansal.
Meanwhile, red alert has been issued in South Kashmir's Pulwama area and the low-lying areas in Srinagar as the Jehlum river has breached its embankment at many places in South Kashmir.
"The Jehlum river has breached embankment at Kandizal in Kakapora area of Pulwama district. We have also issued an alert for the low-lying areas of Srinagar city which are likely to be affected," he said.
Earlier, home minister Rajnath Singh reached Srinagar to take stock of the flood situation.
As soon as he arrived on Saturday morning, he held a meeting with chief minister Omar Abdullah to review the situation. The meeting was held in the technical area of the Srinagar airport, where both the leaders discussed steps to meet the situation arising out of the worst flood in the state in six decades.
After briefing the home minister, Omar himself drove Singh through the Srinagar city. Singh visited the affected areas like Baghat, Barzalla, Rambagh. He, however, could not undertake the scheduled aerial survey of the area.
Due to incessant rains since September 2, the state is witnessing the worst flood in six decades. The Jammu and Kashmir government has confirmed deaths of 83 people in the state. Unofficial figures, however, say the toll has crossed 100 in the Jammu region and 13 deaths have been reported from the Valley.
The government officials said that 390 villages have been submerged in the Valley and 1,225 are partially affected, while 1,000 villages have been affected by flood in the Jammu region.
"The chief minister gave an overview of the situation and the measures taken by the state administration to safeguard the lives and evacuate the people from the submerged areas. The union home minister assured all help from the Centre to the state to overcome the difficulties and help relief and rehabilitation of the affected population,'' said a government spokesman.
Singh also asked for a comprehensive memorandum of losses to submit to the central government as soon as possible.
According to spokesman, chief minister told the union minister that the top most concern of the state government was to ensure safety of human lives and evacuate the population trapped in the submerged areas.
The state has lost standing crop worth crores of rupees, while the horticulture sector has also been affected badly by the floods.
Many residential houses and government buildings have been destroyed by heavy rains.
About 50 bridges and hundreds of kilometres of roads, besides power installations and public health engineering (PHE) schemes, have been damaged due to floods and rains.
"The assessment of the damage can be fully ascertained after the flood water recedes and survey could be conducted,'' a government official said.
The state faces an urgent demand of 25,000 tents and 40,000 blankets. The officials underlined the need of their procurement at the Centre-level and early dispatch to the state.
Army and Air Force have joined the relief efforts and the Centre has rushed in eight teams of the national disaster response force (NDRF) for rescue and relief operations in the flood-hit parts of Jammu and Kashmir, especially in the Kashmir Valley.
According to a police spokesman, the police along with state disaster response force (SDRF) and NDRF have launched a massive rescue operation in the Kakapora and Pampore areas of South Kashmir where the flood situation has worsened after the Jehlum water spreading into these areas. Large number of boats have been pressed into service to rescue people stranded in their houses. People have been shifted to schools and college premises. Rescue operations are still going on in the areas.
Several rescue teams have been dispatched to affected areas, particularly Pantha Chowk, Lasjan and Zewan, in Srinagar. Tents have been distributed in Parimpora, Noor Bagh and Lasjan.