Over 6-lakh still stranded in flood-ravaged Kashmir, death toll crosses 200 mark
SRINAGAR: About 6-lakh people were still stranded and
desperate for help on Tuesday in flood-ravaged Kashmir Valley where heavy rains
have eased to help scale up the massive multi-agency rescue and relief efforts
in which nearly 43,000 people have so far been safely evacuated.
As the miseries faced by people - some of them perched
on rooftops - in the worst floods to hit Jammu and Kashmir in six decades
unfolded, the death toll in the floods, landslides and house collapses
triggered by torrential monsoon rains since Tuesday last was stated to be
Authorities were also trying to fix the
telecommunication links snapped since Sunday afternoon on a war footing and
hope to restore it in a phased manner.
“The big problem that is hampering rescue activities
in the Valley is that telecom links have become dysfunctional... The Department
of Telecommunications (DOT) is trying its best to restore the links quickly,”
an official said.
Help is coming from all over the nation to Kashmir.
Gujarat government said it arranged 50,000 food packets while the Bihar
government is providing 25,000 packets of dry food for flood affected people in
Jammu and Kashmir.
National carrier Air India also pitched in declaring
free passage for tourists stranded in Srinagar. Officials said shortage of
boats was also affecting rescue operations.
A total of 61 IAF choppers and transport aircraft
undertook 354 sorties non-stop overnight to carry men and relief material to
submerged parts of the Valley where about one lakh troops were engaged in the
rescue operations, Defence Spokesman Col SD Goswami told PTI in Jammu.
Officials said that an estimated four lakh people were
believed to be still stranded in the aftermath of the floods.
GoC 15 Corps Lt Gen Subrata Saha said the weather
condition is improving and the water level has receded in Srinagar and other
towns in South Kashmir.
“The weather has cleared and the intensity of the
helicopter operations has picked up. In Srinagar, the water level has receded
by 1.5 to 3 feet at some places but we are noticing an increase in water level
on the northern side,” he said.
“A massive rescue and relief operations by the Indian
Armed Forces, IAS and NDRF is on in Jammu and Kashmir with more helicopters and
rescue materials including boats pressed into service today,” the Defence
“Armed Forces and NDRF so far rescued 42,587 persons
in different regions of J&K,” he said, adding that about one lakh troops
were involved in the operations. Though 110 Army boats and 148 NDRFs inflatable
boats were pressed into service, there were complaints of shortage of boats.
More boats were also being airlifted from Delhi.
BSNL has launched an operation on a war-footing with
Army and IAF to restore mobile services through satellite network and the
telecom network is expected to be partially restored on Tuesday, officials
Road connectivity to the flood-hit Kashmir Valley has
been restored from the Leh region following concerted efforts of Indian Army
Engineers and the Border Roads Organisation.
Goswami said that rescue teams focused on the
inundated city of Srinagar and the south Kashmir belt. He said that 7,200
blankets and 210 tents have been distributed among flood -affected people along
with 42,000 litres of water, 600kg of biscuit, 7 tonnes of baby food and 1,000