Srinagar,March 30: Less than a year after Jammu and Kashmir faced its worst floods ever, the Valley is bracing to battle yet another deluge. Heavy rainfall has caused Jhelum river to rise above the danger mark forcing the state government to issue a flood alert in Kashmir region.
A government spokesman quoted a communication from Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, which said, “Water levels of river Jhelum on 29-03-2015 at 2100 hrs at Sangam (South Kashmir) and Ram Munshi Bagh (Srinagar city) have touched 18′.4 feet and 16′.0 feet respectively.”
He said all the employees deployed for flood control duty have been asked to report to their duties immediately. If the water level breaches 23 feet mark, the state will have to undertake a massive rescue operations and evacuate people from areas adjoining the river in Kashmir.
Landslides have damaged over 40 buildings and the Jammu-Srinagar highway has been closed. An avalanche warning has also been issued for the next 24 hours in Kulgam, Pulwama, Baramulla, Kupwara, Ganderbal and Kargil districts.
Meanwhile, the J&K government has appealed to citizens not to panic. “Our Cabinet ministers are there. There is nothing at risk. Our chief ministry is there and taking view of the situation. we are completely ready to tackle the situation,” Minister of State for Irrigation & Flood Control Abdul Majid Paddar said.
People living on the banks of the river Jhelum have been asked to remain alert and vigilant. Old persons and children have also been advised to move to safer places or camps that have been established in the Valley. The camps are in Sanatnagar and EDI, Pampore.
However, residents in Beerwah in Budgam district allege lack of apathy from the government. “The government is not helping us, the water level is increasing every hour. We need sandbags. The barrage has collapsed. The DC has also not sent any help. The people who live here are poor and need immediate help from the government,” a resident said.
What could be more worrisome is that the Met department has predicted that the rainfall will continue for another week. Massive floods in Jammu & Kashmir had left over 300 dead and rendered thousands homeless in September 2014.