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Flood waters receding, focus now to rescue

Flood waters receding, focus now to rescue "angry" people in interior Kashmir

India Blooms News Service | 10 Sep 2014, 07:25 pm
Udhampur/New Delhi, Sept 10 (IBNS): As the flood waters in the Kashmir valley is receding, the rescue efforts are further pitched up with the focus shifted to rescue the people who are stranded in the far-flung interior fringes of the state that remained unreachable, according to Army sources.

Some are staying on the rooftops, some are holding on to tree branches for days.

Stranded people in the flood ravaged Jammu & Kashmir are feeling desperation and venting their frustration.

According to media reports, upset with being without food-water-shelter, stranded residents have started attacking their rescuers.

Two National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel were attacked on Wednesday by angry residents of Srinagar who alleged a delay by the rescue operation teams to many of those stranded in flood-affected belts, reports said.

One NDRF jawan received serious injury and admitted to a hospital in Chandigarh for medical treatment. 

Sources said the duo was reportedly beaten up with sticks and their rubber boat was also punctured with sharp objects by the disgruntled residents who were stranded due to the flood situation.

Four choppers with relief material fail to land in Srinagar after angry crowds threaten to throw stones.

Taking account of this incident, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag on Wednesday again reiterated that Army will not stop till they have rescued the last man to safety.

He said, it’s understandable for people to be upset and vent their anger but at the same time urged the people to be patient.

According to him, communication and connectivity is biggest challenge which the rescuers are facing in this flood fury which Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has termed as “the worst floods in a century.”

He said, “How do you plan for something that hasn't happened in 100 yrs?”

“I understand the anger and frustration but it is not true that nothing is being done. There will always be some dissatisfaction when something like this happens.

I know people have lost everything, we promise to rehabilitate them. No relief and rehab camps can be perfect. We are doing all we can," he said.

According to Defence spokesperson SD Goswami on Wednesday said, In general the water level is receding; however, areas downstream of Jhelum River are experiencing increase in water levels. 

He said, In Srinagar town there is a decrease in water level by 3 to 4 feet since the beginning of the floods, where as there is a rise of 6 inches in Wuller 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.

Goswami admitted that  Srinagar town though remains the most critical part of flood hit areas.

Army shifted its focus to those places that were unreachable till date.

The areas of Rajbag, Jawahar Nagar, Gogji Bag and Shivpora where the bulk of the stranded people are located saw major effort for evacuation.

While greater desperation was seen in the areas which are on the outer fringes, people in the interiors of these colonies are displaying a great sense of responsibility and directing the rescue teams to those people who are worse affected.

All those areas where it was not possible to reach earlier remained the focus of rescue mission on Wednesday, said Goswami.

It has been learnt, thousands of people continued to remain stranded due to flood in the regions of Srinagar and south Kashmir.

According to rough estimates, around 6 lakh people are still stranded across the flood-ravaged state.

Telecommunication has been partly restored in some parts as water levels have started receding in Srinagar.

As many as 200 people have already died owing to the crisis in the state with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah dubbing the current floods as the worst in 109 years.

Army said that two Russian tourists who were approached for evacuation refused to come out requesting that there were people who were ill and they should be moved out first.

Following the disaster, the massive rescue and relief operations by the 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.

The Army itself has rescued over 31000 people in entire Kashmir and taken them to safe places since the fury of flood hit the Valley.

79 transport aircraft and helicopters of Indian Air Force and Army Aviation Corp have been pressed into service.

Army has deployed 329 columns of its personnel for rescue and relief operations, in which 244 columns deployed in Srinagar region and 85 columns in Jammu region.

A Defence Ministry’s press release said, Army have distributed 8,200 blankets and 650 tents.

They also has distributed 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.

Additional water bottles are being airlifted from Chandigarh and Delhi.

In an endeavor to provide speedy medical aid to the affected populace, 80 medical teams of the Armed Forces Medical Services have also swung into action.

More relief materials including 2000 hospital bed sheets, blankets and tents, water bottles and pre-cooked food are being airlifted today.

So far 613 sorties were undertaken by the helicopters and aircraft of Armed Forces and 715 tonnes of relief materials are dropped by the Indian Air Force.

Approximately 10 Tons of supplies brought in by Army from beyond Kashmir were handed over to the civil administration for distribution. 

15000 liters of water has also been distributed among affected people. 

On Thursday, 15 tons of pre-cooked food and 15000 liters of water are expected to be distributed in the valley. 

Meanwhile, IAF has flown AN-32 round the clock and carried 13.5 tons of relief material to Srinagar, out of which 3.4 ton load were of milk products. 

A total of 315 passengers were brought from Srinagar to Jammu. 

The MI-17 helicopters have started dropping the relief materials in Reasi, Navapachi, Pancheri area since Wednesday morning.

According to Army, Many of their own camps located in South Kashmir and Srinagar have also been flooded and over 1000 Army personnel and families are stranded without food and water.

Since water, electricity, supplies and other services have been hit within the cantonments, the Army personnel have adopted measures to conserve the resources thereby, so that major share of supplies are made available for the Kashmiri people.

Army rescue teams, during the course of evacuation are also interacting with the stranded persons, assuring them that they are comparatively in safer places and it is Army’s commitment to ensure that every single person is taken out to safety. 

Large amount of relief material in terms of water, food and medicines was distributed among stranded persons as well as those who are in relief camps or staging camps.

135 Army BUATs and 148 NDRF’s inflatable boats are actively involved in the rescue operation.

In Srinagar itself, a total of over 5100 people have been taken out of the flooded areas.

To restore the road connectivity, five task forces of Border Roads Organisation, which include 5700 personnel, have been pressed into service.

But the condition has improved than earlier, Army said.

As of now, they have restored the road connectivity between Batote– Kishtwar and Kishtwar - Sinthan Pass.

Work between Sinthan Pass and Anantnag is in progress and Jammu to KM 172 is open for light vehicular traffic.

Jammu - Poonch road has been cleared for traffic.

15 engineering task force teams along with boats and other lifesaving equipment have already reached the flood affected areas to supplement the rescue operation.

Flood waters receding, focus now to rescue "angry" people in interior Kashmir

India Blooms News Service
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