One washed away, 14 rescued

SDRF team rescuing people trapped in flash floods of river Ujh in Rajbagh area of Kathua on Saturday. —Excelsior/Pardeep Sharma
SDRF team rescuing people trapped in flash floods of river Ujh in Rajbagh area of Kathua on Saturday. —Excelsior/Pardeep Sharma

Flash floods cause havoc, Bani road blocked

Excelsior Correspondent
KATHUA, Aug 17: Flash floods following heavy rainfall hit the twin Kathua and Samba districts of Jammu region where a man was feared drowned and his brother, and 14 others, most of them belonging to a nomadic community, were rescued today, officials said.
Two sons of Madan Lal were washed away this morning while grazing their cattle in overflowing Devika stream which they tried to cross on their way home at Kameela village in Vijaypur area of Samba district, a police official said.

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He said while 32-year-old Parveen Kumar was rescued by locals and shifted to a hospital, his elder brother Tarseem Lal, 46 remained untraced and was feared drowned.
The body was not recovered so far despite a rescue operation by local police and SDRF personnel. However, police said the search operation will continue tomorrow to fish out the dead body from the river. SHO Vijaypur said that despite hard efforts by police and SDRF team the dead body could not be traced and the rescue operation was suspended during night. It will resume tomorrow morning.
Meanwhile, the people protested at Vijaypur and disrupted the movement of vehicular traffic on busy Jammu-Pathankot National Highway near Vijaypur for over 20 minutes in protest against the failure of police to start rescue operation immediately.
Kathua police and a team of SDRF rescued 11 people, belonging to a nomadic community who were stuck in flash floods in Ujh river in Rajbagh area, police official said. The rescued people were shifted to a safer location, he added.
In another rescue operation near the Ujh river, policemen saved three more members of the community near Pandori village in Kathua district, the official said.
Heavy rains lashed several parts of Jammu region, raising water level in major rivers, including in the Tawi, and leaving some low-lying areas submerged.
Sources said many roads and culverts on various streams have been damaged in border belt of Kathua and Samba due to flash floods on streams of Devika Basantar, Benni and Ujh. The flash floods damaged standing crops and washed away agriculture land at various places. The link roads in border belt have also been cut off due to damage caused to roads in various areas, reports said.
Due to heavy rainfall, the Basohli-Bani road has been blocked after the landslides in Sukha Nullah area since late last night. The Bani tehsil has been cut off from rest of the district since last night. The GREF has put its men and machinery on the road to clear the debris and make it through for vehicular traffic.
Holy township of Katra, which serves as the base camp for the pilgrims visiting Vaishno Devi shrine in Reasi district, recorded the highest 133.4 mm rainfall since Friday night, a Metrological department spokesperson said.
He said Jammu recorded 27.8 mm rainfall since Friday night but the data for the rainfall during the day was not available.
The mercury in most parts of Jammu and Kashmir nose dived due to the torrential rains, with Jammu recording a high of 26.6 degrees Celsius — 6.7 notches below normal during this time of the season, the spokesperson said, adding that the night temperature was near normal at 24.4 degrees Celsius.
Katra recorded a maximum of 24.3 degrees Celsius and a minimum of 22.8 degrees Celsius, while Srinagar — which witnessed light intermittent rains — recorded a high of 21.9 degrees Celsius, 7.8 degrees below normal, and a low of 15.9 degrees Celsius.