Search ‘Op’ intensified in Dachhan village, 19 still missing
2 injured airlifted; Sgr-Leh road blocked after cloudburst
JAMMU, July 29: With the airlifting of SDRF and NDRF teams along with dog squad to the cloudburst affected village Honzar in Dachhan area of Kishtwar district today, the rescue operation has been intensified to trace 19 missing people in the incident, while Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha today said that the victim families of Dachhan will be rehabilitated.
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Kargil-Leh highway has been badly damaged with the fresh cloudburst about 20 kms ahead of Kargil town this afternoon but no loss of human life has been reported. The road was blocked and BRO teams were on the job to restore the highway on war-footing, a senior official from Kargil said.
Out of the seriously injured persons in Honzar cloudburst incident, two more victims were airlifted to Kishwar District Hospital in an Indian Air Force chopper today. They were identified as Wasim Akram and Sharifa Begum, both residents of Honzar.
Wasim said the incident took place around 8.15 pm on Tuesday and they were inside home. “We all could not imagine what had exactly happened. He was washed away in strong muddy water currents and could regain consciousness after three hours. I was rescued by other villagers and provided some local treatment. My real brother and an uncle are still missing. The people have no hope of seeing alive those people, who are missing,” a shattered Wasim added.
Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Dr Raghav Langar and ADG Mukesh Singh left for Honzar village from Kishtwar early morning today by road and then on-foot and reached there at around 3.30 pm. Despite day long operation, no more bodies could be traced by the teams today.
Seven persons were found dead and 17 others rescued in an injured condition after the remote village was struck by the cloudburst in the early hours of Wednesday, damaging 21 houses, cow sheds, a ration depot, a foot- bridge and a mosque. Scores of cattle were said to have been washed away in the flood.
The officials said the joint rescue operation by Police, Army and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) is going on in full swing to locate the missing people, including nine women.
Director General of Police-cum-Commandant General Home Guard, Civil Defence and SDRF, VK Singh said a team comprising SDRF and NDRF personnel left Jammu at 5:45 AM by road for Kishtwar, while another joint team is leaving Srinagar shortly to join the rescue operation.
He said three teams of the SDRF have already joined the rescue effort and efforts are on to locate the missing persons.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) made an attempt to airlift one of the teams on Wednesday but returned to the technical airport in Jammu due to inclement weather.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today said that measures will be taken to rehabilitate victims of Kishtwar cloudburst.
Despite heavy rain on Wednesday, people were rescued. Immediate help was announced,” Sinha told reporters at the sidelines of “Pashudhan Mela” at Hiranagar in Kathua district today.
The LG said, “Steps will be taken to rehabilitate the victim families affected due to the calamity.”
Terming the incident unfortunate, Sinha asserted that it was a natural disaster. Seven dead have been found while 17 injured have been rescued, out of which five are serious.
NDRF teams and helicopters were on stand by in Jammu and Srinagar but could not take off due to bad weather.
“I also tried to reach Kishtwar but bad weather did not allow,” he said, adding that first police and then the SDRF team reached the spot.
The most necessary action on Wednesday was the rescue operation, he said.
“The J&K Government would do everything possible to support and protect the affected families. In such trying times, it is our duty to care for those who have been unfortunately affected by these natural calamities,” Sinha added.
Meanwhile, Jammu based Defence PRO, Lt Col Devender Anand said that SDRF team has been airlifted in IAF Helicopter from Air Force Station Jammu to Kishtwar for the ongoing rescue operation.
Earlier in the morning, ADGP Jammu Zone, Mukesh Singh accompanied by Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Raghav Langer, rushed for Kishtwar for Honzar, Dachhan to take stock of the situation and review the ongoing rescue and relief operations. DIG DKR Range Uday Bhaskar Billa and DDC Kishtwar Ashok Kumar were also accompanying them.
District Police has established camps at Dangadooru and Soundar for receipt and dispatch of relief and rescue materials for the flood affected people of Honzar village.
Director, Meteorological department, Sonum Lotus said that no major rain occurred during the night across Jammu and Kashmir.
“Right now weather is generally cloudy at most places and is likely to become partly cloudy towards afternoon. Occasional light rain possible at some places during the day,” he said.
Most parts of Jammu region have been receiving incessant rains for the past few days and the Meteorological department has predicted widespread intermittent rain across Jammu and Kashmir till July 30.
“Heavy to very heavy rain is possible at some places and may lead to flash floods, mudslide, landslide and water logging in low lying areas. People are advised to remain alert as water level has risen in all rivers due to rains,” he added.
People have been advised to keep away from hilly, landslide and mudslide prone areas.
Meanwhile, traffic on the Jammu- Srinagar National Highway was resumed on Thursday after being suspended for weekly maintenance on Wednesday.
The National Highway, the only road connecting Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh with Kashmir, historic Mughal road and Anantnag-Kishtwar roads are also through, a traffic police official said.
He said two-way Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) was today allowed from Srinagar to Jammu on the highway which connects Kashmir valley with the rest of the country. Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs) and security force vehicles will ply from Srinagar to Jammu only, the official said, adding that no HMV will be allowed from opposite direction.
The administration has decided not to allow any traffic on the highway every Wednesday to allow the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to undertake weekly maintenance on the road, particularly between Nashri and Jawahar Tunnel.
Reports from Kargil said that cloudburst hit Kargil-Leh highway this afternoon about 20 kms ahead of Kargil town. A major portion of the highway has washed away. A large number of vehicles have been stranded on both sides of the road. The BRO men were on the job to restore highway.
Meanwhile, a Traffic police official said that no traffic will be allowed on Srinagar-Leh National Highway on Friday in view of weekly maintenance by Border Roads Organisation. He said BRO undertakes weekly maintenance, particularly at Zojila Pass. The UTs of J&K and Ladakh have decided to suspend traffic every Friday for weekly maintenance, he added.
Meanwhile, the police and SDRF teams along with relatives are continuously searching for the bodies of RPF Sub Inspector, his wife and two children who were washed away in river Chenab after their car rolled down into the river near Ramban four days ago. Even their car could not be traced so far.
Reports from Poonch said that cattle shed of one Mohd Aslam collapsed at Banola village in Chhatral (Mendhar) today in which two buffaloes and six goats were killed and one cattle injured.
In Lam sector of Nowshera, two houses of the local villagers were damaged in rain and landslide. The local Army units rushed to the area and evacuated the villagers and their goods to the safer location.