Water levels have started receding in Srinagar city, one of the worst hit by the deluge, facilitating rescue workers to pull out another 29,000 persons to safety but four lakh people were on Wednesday still waiting for help in the flood-ravaged Kashmir Valley.
Scaling up rescue work, Army and IAF have deployed 329 columns and 79 aircraft and helicopters to evacuate those stranded and provide food and medicines.
“A massive rescue and relief operation by Indian armed forces is continuing on a war footing in Jammu and Kashmir with over 76,500 persons rescued so far by the Armed forces and NDRF in different regions of the state”, PRO, Defence, Col G D Goswami said on Wednesday.
“In Srinagar town there is a decrease in water level by 3 to 4 feet since the beginning of the floods, whereas there is a rise of 6 inches in Wular Lake. Manasbal Lake saw a reduction by 3 inches bringing the water level to 18.3 feet, which is still 4.3 feet above danger mark,” the PRO said.
Many camps of Army located in South Kashmir and Srinagar have also been flooded and over 1000 Army personnel and families are stranded without food and water. Water, electricity, supplies and other services have been hit within the cantonments.
In an endeavour to provide speedy medical aid to the affected populace, 80 medical teams of the Armed Forces Medical Services have also swung into action.
The Army has distributed 8,200 blankets and 650 tents, 1,50,000 litres of water, 2.6 tonne of biscuit, 7 tonne baby food and 28,000 food packets in the flood-affected areas.
More relief material including 2000 hospital bed sheets, blankets and tents, water bottles and cooked food are being airlifted on Wednesday .
135 Army boats and 148 NDRF’s inflatable boats are actively involved in the rescue operation. To restore road connectivity, five task forces of Border Roads Organisation, which include 5700 personnel, have been pressed into service.
As of now, road connectivity has been restored between Batote–Kishtwar and Kishtwar-Sinthan Pass. Work between Sinthan Pass and Anantnag is in progress and the Jammu-Poonch road has been cleared for traffic.
Fifteen engineering task force teams along with boats and other life-saving equipment have already reached the flood affected areas to supplement the rescue operation, Goswami said.
Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag is scheduled to visit the city on Wednesday to review the flood situation and take stock of the rescue and relief operations by the armed forces in the flood-ravaged Kashmir Valley.
Terming the flood situation in the flood-ravaged Kashmir Valley as “very serious”, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said he understood the anger of the people affected by the “unprecedented” catastrophe.
Omar said BSNL has flown in equipment and engineers to establish a temporary telephone exchange to enable communication with the rest of the world.