Following distress calls, the Army on Wednesday evacuated to safe locations more than 300 travelers, including 100 women and children, who were among hundreds of people stranded on the 270 kms strategic Jammu—Srinagar highway due to landslides and shooting stones triggered at several places due to incessant rain.
Army has been deployed to assist the civil administration for rescuing the travelers stranded since last evening.
Army troops provided food and medical aid to the stranded people. Cold wave condition was being experienced across Jammu and Kashmir because of unseasonal snowfall at higher reaches. Kashmir valley experienced coldest June day in at least past 48 years.
Electric supply in many areas has been hit due to damage to the power supply infrastructure. Army’s help has also been sought by the district administration of Rajouri where some migratory shephards at high pastures were “struggling for their survival” due to bad weather and incessant rains.
Schools in many out of the 20 districts across Jammu and Kashmir have been shut because of rains, landslides and snow.
Many parts of north Kashmir, including Bandipora, had snowfall and authorities have deployed machinery and equipment to clear snow from the roads. The route to Amarnath Shrine also had snowfall on the Baltal side. The Bemina locality of Srinagar was witnessing a flashflood.
The Northern Command said that two columns have been launched by the Indian Army to ascertain the situation and provide necessary assistance.
Massive landslides have occurred due to heavy rain on National Highway 44 at Ramban. Several civilians and vehicles are stranded, Army said.
Reports said that more than 30 landslides and mudslides in the Ramban—Udhampur section of the highway have blocked the road. Several interior roads in the Jammu division and the Kashmir valley were also shut for traffic.
The other roadlink with Kashmir valley through the Moughal Road in Poonch and Rajouri is also shut.
A high alert has been sounded for several areas in the mountainous Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban districts and also in Jammu, Udhampur, Reasi and Pulwama where the water level in rivers was fast increasing.
Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Ramesh Kumar, has asked people not to venture near the waterbodies and rivers.
Amidst the heavy rainfall, the authorities in Ramban, Kishtwar, Pulwama and few other districts also closed all educational institutions up to higher secondary level including private schools for the day.
All schools across Ramban district, including higher secondary schools, shall remain closed today in view of the heavy rainfall and overflowing of nallahs and mudslides at several locations, Deputy Commissioner Ramban Mussarat Islam tweeted.
In Ramban, a house collapsed but luckily there was no loss of life in the incident. However, five people got trapped in flash floods in River Ans in Reasi district but they were rescued by the police.
J&K Police in the affected districts has established helplines.
The district administration of Ramban was providing shelter and food to the stranded passengers since yesterday. Tea and snacks were served at Ramsoo and Ramban this morning.
Deputy Commissioner, Ramban, Mussarat Islam said landslides clearance works was in progress near Battery Cheshma on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. Some trucks were caught in mud- slush. Continuous shooting stones over the steel tunnel at Panthyal were affecting road clearance operations amidst rains.
The Divisional Commissioner said that no traffic movement was being allowed on the highway either from Jammu or Srinagar due to landslides and shooting stones because of heavy rainfall.
People in Kashmir took out jackets and sweaters as temperature dipped 14.2 degrees Celsius below the normal. The Baltal Base Camp of the Amarnath pilgrimage had fresh snowfall.
The level of the Chenab and Tawi river in Jammu district was rising and as such the deputy commissioner Avny Lavasa has alerted the general public not to go near the river banks till further notice.
Loss of livestock has been reported in the high pastures of Rajouri where teams of 60 RR of the Army and Police are on their way to reachout to the affected people.
Deputy Commissioner, Pulwama, Baseer Choudhary ordered suspension of class work in all government and private primary, middle and high schools in the district.