Seven people have been confirmed dead, whereas over 30 others are still missing after a flash flood triggered by a cloudburst washed away several houses in the Honzar village in the Dachhan block of mountainous Kishtwar district in the wee hours today. Twelve injured persons were rescued by the police team led by SHO at Hunzar.
As per officials, a cloudburst-triggered flashflood hit the Honzar village in the district at around 4.30 am when most of the people were asleep. The death toll is expected to rise.
“An area with five to six houses has been completely washed away due to the cloudburst in which 30 to 40 people were washed away, so far we have recovered seven bodies whereas over 30 people continue to be missing,” a senior police officer told CNN News18.
He said that the rescue and relief work has been already started and the teams from the Jammu and Kashmir police, State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), and the Army have already rushed to the spot, but the continuous rainfall has been badly hampering the rescue work. Army column has also reached the spot.
“The area has no road connectivity, no mobile connectivity, and the continuous rainfall is badly hampering the relief and rescue work, the teams have to track for several kilometers to reach the area,” he said.
He said that so far four bodies have been recovered and the efforts are on to trace the missing people.
Those who have lost their lives have been identified as Saja Begum (65), Rakil Begum (24), Ghulam Nabi and Abdul Majid.
PM Narendra Modi tweeted, “Central Government is closely monitoring the situation in the wake of the cloudbursts in Kishtwar and Kargil. All possible assistance is being made available in the affected areas. I pray for everyone’s safety and well-being."
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has also spoken to the Lt Governor and the director-general of police to enquire about the situation in the area.
“I have spoken to LG and DGP of Jammu and Kashmir regarding cloudburst in Kishtwar (J&K). SDRF, Army and local administration are engaged in rescue work, NDRF is also reaching there. Our priority is to save as many lives as possible. I express my condolences to the bereaved families,” he said in a tweet in Hindi.
Meanwhile, the Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh has said that he is keeping a close watch on the prevailing situation in the area.
“Just now spoke to the DM Sh Ashok Sharma following cloudburst in Dachhan region. Thirty to 40 persons are missing and four dead bodies have been recovered so far. Rescue operations are going on with help of SDRF and the Army. Air Force authorities have been contacted for lifting the injured. I am keeping close track of the situation. Every kind of further help will be provided as per requirement,” Dr Singh tweeted.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha also expressed shock over the tragedy and asked officials to speed up the rescue operation.
“Saddened over loss of precious lives due to flash floods caused by the cloudburst in Dacchan Kishtwar. My thoughts are with bereaved families. Spoke to the authorities and district administration. Army and SDRF team working on war footing to rescue people and trace the missing persons. I am continuously monitoring the situation,” the office of the LG J&K tweeted.
Two cloudbursts occurred in Kargil district in the Union Territory of Ladakh on Tuesday damaging a hydro power project and some houses but there were no casualties or injuries.
The first cloudburst took place at village Khangral, about 60 kilometers from Kargil on Kargil-Leh National Highway while the second occurred at Sangra, about 40 kilometers from Kargil in Sanku division on Zanskar road.
Meanwhile, the meteorological department has issued a weather warning for Jammu and Kashmir. It is now cloudy in most parts of the state with thunderstorms and showers in some areas of Poonch, Rajouri, Reasi, and the surrounding areas. Widespread intermittent rain is expected to last until the 30th. Rainfall ranging from heavy to very heavy is also predicted in some areas. May brought flash floods, mudslides, landslides, and waterlogging, especially in low-lying areas.