Flash floods inundate north Kashmir villages


Srinagar : Flash floods have inundated 48 villages in north Kashmir, police said Friday, adding that three people trapped by flood waters were rescued by an army helicopter.

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Police said Gulam Ahmad Shah, Muhammad Ashraf Chopan and Sadam Hussain Chopan were trapped for more than 36 hours in the flood waters in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

“They had mounted high rocks in the flooded Kehmil stream in Kupwara district. After rescue teams of the police and local villagers failed to reach them, the army was requested to assist the rescue effort,” a police officer told IANS over the phone.

“All the three men were rescued this (Friday) morning after remaining trapped in flood waters for more than 36 hours,” he added.

Due to cloudbursts and torrential rains for the last four days, most mountain streams in north Kashmir are under flash floods.

The three main mountain streams of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district — Kehmil, Mawar and Pohru — are running above the danger mark.

“A vehicle trying to cross the Kulangam Bridge near Handwara town was washed away this (Friday) morning, but fortunately all the eight passengers were rescued by the police and locals,” the officer said.

Flood waters have destroyed paddy and maize crops over hundreds of acres in the affected areas and over 100 cattle heads have been washed away by cloudbursts in the meadows of Kupwara district.

Sources here said 48 villages, including Batgund, Koru, Chotipora and Shatgund, have been inundated by flood waters.

Residents, numbering hundreds, have started migrating to the higher reaches along with their livestock.

A senior officer said the local administration had been geared up to meet the challenge posed by the natural calamity.

“Relief and rescue operation has already started and all officers and field staff in the flood-affected areas have been instructed to remain on duty round the clock in these areas,” a senior divisional administration official said.

Intermittent cloudbursts and torrential rains have flooded most of the mountain streams in north Kashmir areas.

The weather department has forecast thundershowers and occasional heavy rain at isolated places in the Kashmir Valley till Saturday.