Several feared killed in Kashmir cloudburst

  • Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times, Dehradun/Haridwar/Srinagar
  • Updated: Jul 13, 2015 07:51 IST
Army personnel look for survivors after 8 people, mostly nomads, were washed away in the cloudburst that struck Adoo area of Pahalgam on Sunday. (PTI Photo)

Vast swathes of North India went under a sheet of water as the skies opened up on Sunday, triggering landslides and damaging houses in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and UP.

Several persons have been feared dead in a cloudburst in south Kashmir’s Pahalgam area, around 90km south of Srinagar, even as the pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath was suspended due to inclement weather.“The Amarnath yatra has been suspended from both Baltal and Pahalgam routes due to rains,” police said. The vital Srinagar-Jammu National Highway also has been closed.

At least eight people, mainly nomads, were washed away in the cloudburst that struck in the afternoon in Adoo area of Pahalgam. Two bodies have been recovered, local people said. “Search is on for the missing persons,” said Muzaffar Ahmad, sub-divisional police officer, Pahalgam.

At least five persons, who were grazing cattle in the upper reaches, have been feared dead. Several cattle were also washed away. Kashmir has been witnessing heavy rains since Saturday night.

“July and August have the highest frequency of wet days and highest precipitation. There is high probability of flooding during these months,” said Shakil Romshoo, head of the department of earth sciences, Kashmir University.
In Dehradun, a construction worker died and three others were injured when a restaurant they were repairing collapsed due to rain on Sunday morning, police said.

“Three workers who were injured have been admitted to a nearby hospital,” said Renuka Devi, state disaster response force (SDRF) commandant. The deceased has been identified as Bhanu Pratap, 60. The incident took place at around 10.30am, when the under-construction third floor of the restaurant on Haridwar road collapsed, she said.

The Haridwar district administration, which had sounded high alert in the low lying areas of the district on Friday, said the vigil will continue as the water levels in the rivers are rising. “The Ganga has reached near the danger mark of 294m,” said Sunil Yadav, sub-divisional officer of the Upper Ganga canal.

In Sitapur district in Uttar Pradesh, three persons, including a minor, were killed in two separate incidents of wall collapse. Two persons were killed in Badaun and one died in Bareilly in separate incidents of house collapse.

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