The Kashmir valley is bracing for a major flood with water levels in Jhelum river rising with every hour as incessant rains continued to lash the valley on Thursday morning.
With around 50 villages and parts of Srinagar battling flood water, the government declared a red alert and asked people to evacuate to safer places.
"People living along the banks of river Jehlum and embankments of different water bodies are asked to move to safer areas immediately in view of the flood situation," said Kashmir divisional commissioner.
The water level in Jhelum which traverses from South Kashmir to north through Srinagar city rose to 21 metres at the city's Ram Munshi Bagh and 28.8 meters at Sangam.
"We have shifted all belongings to the second floor of our house since 5 am. We are waiting for water to recede otherwise we will have to leave the area and water can breach any time now," said Imran Yousuf, a resident of Srinagar's posh locality of Padshahi Bagh housing bungalows.
Around 40 villages in south Kashmir are badly hit by flood water. Hundreds of flood-affected people have been shifted to safer locations. Abdul Gaffal Sofi, an MLA from Kulgam's Humshalibugh area told a news portal, "The government has not reached the affected areas and I have reports that people are doing everything on their own."
The government claimed that more than 50 boats were despatched to south Kashmir for evacuating people. "Another 100 boats are being procured for the purpose," said a government spokesman.
Chief minister Omar Abdullah carried an aerial survey and passed on instructions to officials to bring efficiency in work. He also visited areas of Srinagar. "The chief minister is monitoring the situation round the clock," said a government spokesman.
With meteorological department warning more rains for next two days, the government put the Air Force on alert.The Air Force has been asked to keep an air rescue plan ready. We have also arranged for 5 lakh sand bags ," said the spokesman.
In Srinagar's Bemina area, the Hamdania Colony remains inundated since the previous night. "Since 2 am we are calling district administration for help but failed to nothing moved. In the morning two boats with capacity of four people were made available when hundreds of locals are stranded on the other side of the bank," said Mushtaq Ali, a local, whose relatives failed to move to safer locations.
Several posh colonies in Srinagar are under water as flood waters breached the banks of river Jhelum at several places. The only orthopaedic hospital of Barzulla is also under water. "Serious patients have been shifted to second floor. But the x-ray room is completely inundated," said Nazir Ahmad, whose relative is admitted there.
Most areas which faced floods, like Mehjoor Nagar, Padshahi Bagh, parts of Barazulla and Rambagh, are those where the government failed to prevent mushrooming of illegal colonies.
Several villages of central Kashmir's Budgam are also facing flood waters. Two people died there yesterday in flash floods.
All schools and colleges have been closed in the valley and exams have been postponed.