Nature’s wrath

Not only damage to public property but loss of human lives having occurred at various places in Jammu and Kashmir as well as in Ladakh depicts, what we may in easy parlance, describe as nature’s wrath. As many as seven persons having lost their lives and 17 being injured, some of them seriously, besides many houses having been swept away in a remote village of Kishtwar district on Wednesday as a result of a severe cloudburst, is the gory side of the torrential rains witnessed during the last few days. Not only this, reports that several people are reported to be missing in the cloudburst is a cause of concern and the administration is required to pool its resources at war footing to trace them at an early moment. More than 12 people trapped in the flood waters having been rescued are presently undergoing treatment in the hospital. There is a joint search and rescue operation comprising the police, army and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) underway in the affected Honzar village in Dachhan tehsil in Kishtwar. The situation arising out of the natural calamity being monitored by high officials besides by the Lieutenant Governor and the Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh is expected to be well taken care of by extending the necessary help as required by the affected people . The Union Home Minister has taken stock of the serious situation of loss of lives and property in Kishtwar village on account of the cloudburst and heavy rains and reportedly spoke directly to the District Magistrate Kishtwar as also Air Force Authorities about the steps being taken to alleviate the sufferings of the affected people. It is expected that more rescue teams from Jammu and Srinagar are to be airlifted immediately on improvement of the weather conditions so as to reach the affected areas to provide necessary relief and help to the distressed people who have to be reached on three hours foot journey as there is no road connectivity. Even one more team from Ludhiana has been kept in all preparedness to reach the affected place. The vulnerability of such remote areas of mountainous regions being more to such vagaries and furies of the weather further compounds the problems of the affected people because of accessibility being difficult and usually a few kilometres to be walked on foot to reach them. From this angle, it is absolutely imperative to press into service helicopter sorties to reach them so that no delay took place in providing relief and necessary help to the distressed people. In other areas like Machhail, Paddar and Bunjwah in Kishtwar district too have witnessed floods, a cloudburst having struck another far flung village Lambard but no loss of life has been reported although people have suffered damages to properties but 60 families having been evacuated in Padar to safer places has been a step taken quite timely by the administration. Incessant rains were posing great danger to the houses lived in by them. Even in Ladakh, the nature’s fury in the shape of two cloudbursts took place in villages Khangral and Sangra on Kargil – Leh National Highway and Zanskar Road respectively. Not only was Kargil- Zanaskar Road closed but heavy rains in Kargil district damaged a power project and some houses but fortunately, there was no loss of human life or injuries. Usually, cloudbursts and torrential rains together are rarely witnessed in Kargil but this time, two major cloudbursts are said to have occurred after a long time. Reports have also been received from Bandipora in north Kashmir where a residential house and a mosque were partially damaged and several other houses inundated with rain waters due to heavy rains and cloudburst. A footbridge having been washed away by the flash floods and a few orchards and paddy fields are reported to have been damaged but no loss of life is reported. Since there is no human control on nature’s way of things especially in respect of averting natural calamities like the one under reference, nevertheless, the impact and the severity thereof can be mitigated and help and succour ensured to be reached to the deserving distressed people. It is quite satisfying that the UT machinery is active in rescue operations. What is needed is to intensify such operations and provide necessary help and due compensation as is warranted by the situation in each affected area in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir. Weather persons forecasting more rains and with torrents till July 30 in and around Jammu division enjoins upon the administration to take suitable steps to lessen the difficulties of the people on account of unusual but not untimely rains.