Eight persons, including four women, were killed and 14 were missing after a cloudburst that triggered flash-floods in the Honzar village of the Dacchan area in the Kishtwar district of Jammu on Wednesday. Seven bodies were recovered downstream till the afternoon.
Seventeen seriously injured men, women and children were rescued by the Army, police and civilians who immediately swung into rescue operations in the area.
Five of the critically injured have been shifted to the district hospital in Kishtwar. More columns of Army and SDRF have joined the rescue and search operations that were hindered due to heavy rain.
The exact number of deaths and missing persons would be known only after house to house survey of the area, said a police officer.
IAF helicopters were pressed into service to fly the injured persons to Jammu for treatment in the medical college hospital. However, bad weather delayed the flights.
Additional Director General of Police (Jammu Range) Mukesh Singh said that 19 residential houses and 21 cowsheds were completely damaged while 2 houses were partially damaged and a ration depot and a bridge at Kiyar were destroyed. The rescue operation was halted due to heavy rain, he added.
The senior superintendent of police, Kishtwar, Shafqat Hussain, personally led the rescue operations and two medical teams have reached the area to take care of the injured persons.
Six of the dead have been identified as Saja Begum, Rakila Begum, Ghulam Nabi, Abdul Majid, Zaytoona Begum and Touseef Iqbal. Several cattle heads also perished in the floods.
The news about the mishap was broken early in the morning by Dr Jitendra Singh, union minister, who tweeted that he has spoken to the district magistrate of Kishtwar Ashok Sharma about the cloudburst due to which 30 to 40 persons were missing, 4 bodies have been recovered so far. The minister kept close track of the situation and assured that help will be provided as per requirement.
Defence spokesman, Lt. Colonel Devender Anand said two columns of the Army have been mobilized to assist the civil administration in rescue operations in Kishtwar. The first column mobilized early morning and the second column also reached. One SDRF column was airlifted from the Air Force Station, Jammu.
The police have issued helpline numbers for assistance during the floods.
The administration has warned that at present it’s cloudy at most places of J&K with thunderstorms and rain at some places of Poonch, Rajouri, Reasi and neighbourhood. Widespread intermittent rain is most likely to continue till 30 July.
Heavy to very rain is also possible at some places which may lead to flash floods, mudslides, landslides and waterlogging in low lying areas.
With the water level rising in the Chenab and other rivers in J&K, the Kishtwar police made announcements for vacating Atholi.
In view of the severe weather alert issued by the Met Department, all district teams of NDRF and SDRF have been directed to remain in a state of readiness. There may be chances of cloudbursts, landslides, flash floods at some places.