Breaches get bigger in Jalandhar, food airdropped for flood-hit
The district administration requisitioned six army choppers to airdrop nearly 36,000 food packets and 18,000 packets of dry ration in 18 of the worst-affected villages.Updated: Aug 22, 2019 00:47 IST
Breaches in the embankments of the Sutlej at two places in Shahkot sub-division of Jalandhar district widened on Wednesday, with no sign of relief for residents in more than 50 submerged villages, prompting the administration to airdrop food packets and other essentials for those trapped in the flooded areas.
The district administration requisitioned six army choppers to airdrop nearly 36,000 food packets and 18,000 packets of dry ration in 18 of the worst-affected villages. The stranded villagers complained of facing a shortage of drinking water.
Thousands of people, mostly sitting on their rooftops, are still trapped in the area. The breach at Janian Chahal, which was about 20-metre wide on Tuesday, got more than 170 metres, while the one at Mandiala became 70 metres, with floodwater continuing to flow into the adjoining villages.
Teams of the army and the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) were called in to plug the breaches but the operation was yet to be started as the water current was too strong.
Administration officials said water level in Gidderpindi village increased and several schools were also flooded in the area. Besides, roads to several villages were cut off while roofs of many houses collapsed.
“Loss will be calculated once the water level recedes. Only then, we will get the real picture,” a district-level functionary said.
The villagers said they were worried about their livestock. They claimed that the situation has turned worse than the 1988 floods and blamed the irrigation and drainage department besides the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) for poor planning of the release of excess water from the Bhakra reservoir.
The district administration has deployed 25 boats for the rescue operations. Crops on more than 30,000 acres in the sub-division are submerged, it is estimated.
General (retd) TS Shergill, senior adviser to chief minister, who visited the flood-hit area, said safety and security of people living in affected villages is the top priority of the state government. He said the state government has put in place a mechanism for ensuring food, medical treatment and other basic facilities for the residents.