Hope and despair
Rescue efforts continue as help pours in for Kashmir flood victims; mobile services partially resorted
Srinagar: Fourteen children who died at a hospital are among the 43 people found dead in the Kashmir Valley as the flood waters receded in Jammu and Kashmir, authorities said yesterday.
A man carries minimum essentials as he wades through a flooded street in Srinagar. Pic/PTI
They had died in the government-run GB Pant Hospital, which along with other major hospitals, were inundated in the floods. State government officials confirmed that 29 bodies had been found in the Kashmir Valley alone after the flood waters receded.
Flood victims at a medical checkup camp organised by Army in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir. Pic/PTI
There was four to 10 feet of flood water in residential areas of Shivpura, Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar, Wazirbagh, Gogjibagh, Karan Nagar, Shetrashahi, Bemina, Qamarwari and some other areas in the Srinagar city. The main business hubs Lal Chowk, Residency Road, Maisuma, Hari Singh High Street and Karan Nagar are still submerged.
The markets in the old city areas of Srinagar have been closed for the past six days because of shortage of goods, although these areas are not affected by the flood waters directly. The Srinagar-Jammu national highway, through which all supplies are routed to the valley remained closed for the sixth day.
Help from all sides
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced the dispatch of drinking water pouches. Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital sent emergency relief supplies to the state to help it overcome the acute shortage of medicines.
Eighty-six transport aircraft and helicopters of the Indian Air Force and Army Aviation Corps have been pressed into rescue and relief operations, the defence ministry statement said. The army has deployed 21,000 personnel in Srinagar region and 9,000 in Jammu region. “Over 4,00,000 litres of water, 1,31,500 food packets and over 800 tonnes of cooked food have been air-dropped in the flood-affected areas,” the statement said.
Water suction and sewage pumps, generator sets and communication equipment have also reached the flood-affected areas. At least 8,200 blankets and 1,119 tents were provided to the victims. Eighty medical teams of the Armed Forces Medical Services have been operating in full swing. Four field hospitals have also been established.
Around 224 army boats and 148 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) boats are involved in the rescue operation. The armed forces have also established 19 relief camps in Srinagar and Jammu regions. To restore road connectivity, five task forces of the Border Roads Organisation are on duty.
Google has created a crisis map with updated satellite imagery to facilitate rescue operations in Jammu and Kashmir. “Our hope is that this will help rescue operations respond to this crisis by identifying flood zones, evacuation routes and weather conditions,” a statement said.
Mobile services restored
New Delhi: Mobile services have been ‘somewhat’ restored everywhere in flood-hit Jammu and Kashmir, except in Poonch, Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
“The central government has worked a lot to restore communication now. Land lines are functional in many houses in the valley,” Prasad said, adding that private companies have allowed free talk-time to people in the state, while many companies have provided free SIM cards, too.