Flood waters receding, lakhs still await help

RSTV Bureau

kashmir_reliefFlood waters receded further in Kashmir Valley on Thursday enabling rescue teams to evacuate another 2000 stranded people and provide crucial supplies for people desperately waiting for help in submerged areas.

Military teams continued rescue efforts overnight, evacuating 807 people from Srinagar alone. A total of 82,000 people have been pulled out in a continuing multi-agency mammoth operation even as an estimated five to six lakh people still waited for help after floods ravaged Jammu and Kashmir.

Food and other relief material were also provided for those stranded, officials said, adding that a total of 807 tonne relief material has been despatched so far.

Lt Gen D S Hooda said that “The situation has improved quite significantly in all areas of west Srinagar. In Srinagar, the water level has gone down from its peak level by about six feet but there is still substantive flooding in certain areas within the town itself”.

Transport aircraft and helicopters of IAF and Army Aviation Corps were carrying out non-stop rescue and relief operations while Army has deployed one lakh troops.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams also scaled up their rescue efforts. The floods, which were stated to be the worst in 109 years after rains pummelled the state on September 2, have left nearly 200 dead.

Twenty per cent of the water supply has been restored in Kashmir and efforts are being made on war footing to restore communication links, both physical and telecom, in the Valley which is witnessing the worst floods in six decades.

Water supply has been severely affected in half of Kashmir. Kansal said in a bid to step up relief operations, the administration has ordered all state government employees to report to duty by this evening.

Giving an overview of the extent of damage after floods struck the Valley, Kansal said out of the 12 districts of Kashmir, eight were affected either fully or partially affecting 20 lakh people. Four of the districts were cut off.

At least 45,000 people have been evacuated either by air or boats by rescuers. At least 5,000 people, mostly belonging to other states, have been airlifted out of the flood ravaged state.

The authorities have set up 150 relief camps where one lakh people have taken shelter even as 200 tonnes of relief material has been supplied so far.

SDM Srinagar Syed Abid Rasheed Shah said the first priority is to rescue the marooned people. It is a collective effort to salvage the situation in which the NDRF has a key role.