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J&K floods a national disaster, says PM Modi; announces special assistance of Rs 1,000 cr

Sep 07, 2014 03:54 PM IST India India

Srinagar: Assuring the people of Jammu and Kashmir of all assistance from the Central government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday announced a special assistance of Rs 1,000 crore for the flood-affected state.

"Centre is in touch with state government. Army, Air force and NDRF are coordinating relief operations in the region. I assure the people that whole country is with them. This is a national level disaster," he said while adding that the state is witnessing the worst flood in the last 50 years.

"We have airlifted boats from Gujarat and Maharashta which are helping in rescue operations. 5000 tents are being brought in and 1 lakh blankets will be bought from the PM's relief fund," the PM said. The PM conducted an aerial survey in the flood-affected regions of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday.

He added that though the calamity has not reached Leh and Ladakh, the roads leading to the region has been badly affected. "It is a challenge to send food materials and other materials to Leh and Ladakh. We will try our best to reconstruct the way as soon as possible," he said.

PM Modi also extended help to Pakistan and said that India is ready to provide assistance to Pakistan to deal with the flood-ravaged areas of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Earlier in the day, Modi held a high-level meeting in Jammu to assess the rescue work and the damage that has been caused due to the massive floods in the state. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and other top officials attended the meeting and briefed the PM about the devastation caused by the floods which have claimed 116 lives so far.

As many as 130 Army columns, eight battalions of the NDRF, besides the entire Indian Air Force transport fleet has been deployed for rescue operations in the flood-hit state.

A total of 850 personnel have been airlifted so far in the flood affected regions of the state. A C-17 Globemaster aircraft has been launched from Delhi to Awantipur with Rapid Action Medical Team (RAMT) and two IL 76 aircraft with medical supplies and boats have taken off from Palam Air Force Base for Srinagar. Another IL-76 with teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel has also taken off from Delhi for Srinagar.

Three C-130J Super Hercules special operations aircrafts have been pressed into service to transport boats from Pune and Gandhinagar to Srinagar and blankets and tents from Kanpur to the state. A total of twelve AN-32, four IL-76, five C-130J and two C-17 transport aircraft of the IAF have been pressed into operations. Twenty six helicopters of the IAF are also operating in the region.

Meanwhile, water levels have receded in the Tawi river in Jammu but Kashmir continues to be under a red alert after the embankments of River Jhelum were breached at many places due to rise in water level, submerging areas like Badamibagh, Sonawar, Rajbagh, Kursu, Natipora, Nowgam and old Barzulla. Water has also seeped into important installations like Civil Secretariat and High Court in the heart of the city.

Access to main hospitals like SMHS and Lalla Ded has been cut off due to the flooding of the roads. Nearly 300 patients are stranded at the GB Pant hospital.

During the meeting with the PM, Omar sought more rescue-related initiatives, including commencement of air rescue operations in view of grim situation in the state. The PM is accompanied by Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh and Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag.

Helpline numbers:
Flood Control Room Number- New Delhi J&K House (011)-24611210 and 24611108