J-K floods: Next 24 hours crucial, says govt, as fresh rainfall lashes Valley

  • Toufiq Rashid, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Apr 02, 2015 08:02 IST

A day after the water level of the swollen Jhelum river began to recede, fear was back as a fresh spell of rain hit the Valley on Wednesday.

According to the weatherman, rainfall that started on Tuesday night is expected to continue for the next two days. Director of the Indian Meteorological Department in the state, Sonam Lotus said the western disturbance is persisting over J&K and its intensity might increase leading to more rainfall.

The water level of Jehlum at Sangam in south Kashmir fell to 11ft (about 10ft below the danger mark) and at Ram Munshi Bagh gauge in Srinagar it was 15ft (3 feet below the danger level) at 1pm on Wednesday.

But authorities have not withdrawn the red alert saying the next 24 hours are crucial, with fears that the fresh rainfall might again cause a surge in Jhelum and its tributaries.

"We have not withdrawn our advisory… we are asking people in low lying areas to shift and also people who live in an around the rivers and streams," said the public works minister Altaf Bukhari.

Bukhari said the government has procured enough boats but added that its strategy remains evacuation of about 90% people on foot, much before than areas are inundated.

"Our full manpower has been pressed into action," he added. The government has also provided boats to police stations and engineers and experts have been stationed with the police.

The army has also sounded an alert and placed men and machinery in the state of readiness.

"Some houses were washed off but there was no loss of lives," said Lt Gen Subrata Saha, Commander of the 15th Corps.

He also said three bridges had been washed off till now. "We have mobilised resources from north Kashmir... we are prepared to deal with any situation."

In September last year, 300 people died and tens of thousands were left homeless when the worst floods in over a century hit the state.

The government is not taking any chances this time and eight teams of National Disaster Response Force have already been rushed in to the Valley.

The authorities have also postponed all university and school board exams in the Valley up to April 4. All schools also remained closed on Wednesday.

Meanwhile hospitals have been put on high alert and patients and machinery has been shifted to first floor. Hospitals had lost equipment worth Rs 600 crore in the September floods.

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