Heavy rains, flash floods wreak havoc across J&K; Chenab flows above danger mark

Flooded Chenab river flowing above danger mark at Akhnoor on Thursday. -Excelsior/Rakesh
Flooded Chenab river flowing above danger mark at Akhnoor on Thursday. -Excelsior/Rakesh

Scores of students, teachers, others rescued

NH closed, bridge washed away in Poonch

Gopal Sharma

JAMMU, July 28: Scores of students and teachers of a Government school and other people trapped in flash floods were rescued in Jammu and Poonch areas as heavy rain and floods wreaked havoc since early morning in the region while Chenab river was flowing above danger mark sounding red alert in low lying area of Akhnoor and Khour Sub divisions of Jammu district.

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Due to heavy rain and landslides at several places in Ramban sector since early morning, Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was blocked and a large number of vehicles including Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra convoy, were stranded en-route. More than 3000 pilgrims were held up at Chankderkote camp near Ramban, a senior official said.
Chopper service to Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine from base camp Katra and yatra through new route remained suspended due to bad weather and rain while the battery car service was restored in the afternoon.
More than 1000 trucks/load carriers and about 400 other vehicles are said to have stranded at various places between Jammu and Srinagar along the National Highway. Landslides at Mehar and Cafeteria Morh in Ramban could not be cleared till late this evening while due to falling of big boulders at Panthyal, steel tunnel has suffered extensive damage. It is said that restoration work was not possible as shooting stones and falling of boulders at Panthyal and Mehar continued frequently.
Authorities in Jammu rescued about two dozen students and teachers trapped in a Government school near Udheywalla after heavy rainfall triggered flash flood in Nallah, inundating many areas of Jammu this morning.
Dozens of houses and structures were damaged, a few bridges washed away and scores of vehicles stuck on roads and highways in various districts of the region.
A bridge on Poonch-Rawlakote (PoK) Road, near Chakkan-Da-Bagh, was extensively damaged due to flash flood in Rangar Nallah in district Poonch this morning. The flood caused land erosion and extensive damage to the standing crops in agriculture lands of the people.
At least 16 people, trapped in Poonch river were rescued by SDRF men, Army and Police while 27 others were still trapped in Suran river near Chandak bridge in Sanei area of Surankote. Four persons were rescued by Army and SDRF in Jullas area of Poonch.
Officials said police and locals swung into action and rescued students and teachers trapped in a Government school building due to flash floods in the Lower Muthi-Udheywalla area. The flood water from Keran, Upper Roop Nagar, Rajinder Vihar, Ban Talab Nallahs, wreaked havoc in many localities, caused damaged to over a dozen cars and bikes and scores of houses.
Many walls collapsed and water entered houses and shops in Lower Roop Nagar, Muthi, Rajinder Vihar, Ban Talab, Durga Nagar, Vasuki Vihar near Rajouri Lines Army quarters, Laxmi Puram and Udheywalla. The water level in Udheywalla area was about 3-4 ft and many students and teachers took shelter on roof top. They were later rescued by the locals, police and SDRF men. At least a dozen light vehicles and bikes parked in the area were marooned in water and suffered damages while several others were washed away.
Main Janipur-Roopnagar- Bantalab Road was overflooded today and about 2 ft water near KV School/ Petrol Pump, Ban Talab and Roop Nagar, Aap Shambu Temple Road crossing, disrupted movement of traffic for about two-three hours.
Several people escaped unhurt when an old building collapsed due to heavy rains in Kanak Mandi area. It triggered protests against the Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) for its alleged failure to bring down old and unused buildings in the old city causing a threat to life to the residents and shopkeepers.
In Kalka Colony in Bahu Fort area, about a dozen houses suffered damage due to flash flood in Nallah. In Rajeev Nagar, Gorkha Nagar, Lower Bathindi, Channi Rama, Chatta, Sunjuwan, Sainik Colony and Greater Kailash areas also, Nallahs wreaked havoc and caused damage to houses. Several Nallas were overflooded and water entered houses. The roads also suffered heavy damage.
With damage to the electric polls and transformers with flood the power supply in many parts of Jammu city remained disrupted for more than 8-10 hours while it was restored in most of the areas in the evening.
Most of the roads in dozens of colonies in Jammu city were inundated due to heavy rainfall gauged over 80 mm in a few hours. On Canal Road, near Science College, Jewel Chowk, Dogra Chowk, Panama Chowk and several other city crossing massive water logging was witnessed. The movement of vehicles was hit for several hours. As per reports, dozens of houses and structures suffered damage due to rains, flash floods and landslides in Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Poonch, Rajouri, Udhampur and Reasi districts.
While entire Jammu region recorded heavy rainfall since early Thursday morning but worst-affected areas in Jammu due to the rainfall and subsequent flash floods were Keran, Lower Roopnagar, Kangrail, Raipur, Kot-Bhalwal, Burn and Ghrota, Paloura, Talab Tillo, Muthi, Udheywalla, Channi Himmat, Nanak Nagar and other low-lying areas where the rainwater entered houses.
Not only power but the water supply in parts of the city and other rural areas was affected badly, while water and mud entered many houses and shops in Old Janipur, Bhawani Nagar, Naseeb Nagar, Shant Nagar, Paloura and Muthi.
The water level in most of the rivers like Tawi, Ujh, Basantar was running near alert level while flooded Chenab river was flowing about danger mark (Nearly 36 ft) during mid day today. Authorities issued advisories urging people to stay away from rivers, the officials said.
The District Administration Jammu has advised people from Akhnoor, Jourian, Pargwal and Khour not to venture near Chenab river as NHPC authorities may open flood gates in view of rising water level in the Salal reservoir today.
A large number of vehicles were trapped on highway in Jammu, Kathua and Samba areas. In Kishtwar, a foot-bridge was washed away in Afti area.
In Reasi district, new track to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Trikuta hills was closed on Thursday as a precautionary measure following heavy rains in the area. However, Yatra was allowed through old track. Chopper service however remained suspended through out the day today.
Reports from Rajouri said that at least 12 houses were damaged in Thannamandi, Khawas, Taryath and Nowshera area. However, no loss of life has been reported. Three cattle sheds also reportedly collapsed in the district during the day today.
In Mendhar area of Poonch, at least half a dozen houses were partially damaged in Salwah, Mendhar and Mankote area due to heavy rain.
Many rivers and Nallahs in the district were flooded and the district administration Poonch issued advisory for the people to stay away from the rivers and Nallahs. The schools in the district were closed today.
Tehsildar Poonch/ Haveli Maroof Khan said that at least 16 persons were rescued from Poonch river near SK Bridge today. They had been trapped in the flood. He said about 27 persons of six families were trapped in Suran river near Chandak bridge and a joint rescue operation was in progress till this evening. In Noona Bandi and Dingla areas at least ten houses were partially damaged. Two houses were fully damaged at Gali Pindi Sathra area, while at least a dozen partially in other parts of Mandi tehsil.