Nearly 45 people, mostly women and children, who were a part of a marriage party, were feared killed as the bus in which they were travelling washed away in flash floods at Jamerhi Nullah in Laam area of Rajouri district Thursday morning.
J&K Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather said, “At Rajouri, a bus carrying 50 people of a marriage party was washed away by water currents. Only three people have been rescued, while 45 people are feared dead. So far we have failed to recover any body or missing people,” he said.
However, Jammu divisional commissioner Shantmanu said nearly 60-70 people were reportedly travelling in the bus. Eye witnesses told The Indian Express over the phone that two 52-seater buses carrying the marriage party had left Raipur Qamila for Laam. At Jamerhi nullah, water was flowing over the small bridge. While the first bus crossed the bridge safely, the second one was washed by strong water currents. Some of the locals rescued three people. Bus driver Lovely was among those feared dead.
The Centre has also dispatched National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams to the spot to find survivors.
J&K is witnessing worst ever floods in the past two decades and 65 people are feared dead and hundreds injured over the last 24 hours.
More than 200 people have been rescued by the police and Army rescue teams at different places in the state. The government has put the Indian Air Force on alert for aerial rescue evacuation operation in the affected areas.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who briefed him about the flood situation in the state. Due to the floods, the Union Home Minister who was scheduled to visit the state on Friday has reportedly deferred his visit.
The national highways connecting Srinagar-Jammu, Srinagar-Ladakh and Batote-Doda were reportedly closed after the rainfall triggered landslides. MET officials have predicted more rain in the next 24 hours and said this is the highest rainfall recorded in the state since 1992.
On the city outskirts, many residential areas got submerged and authorities launched rescue operation at various places to evacuate people. Some portion of Army’s 15 Corps headquarters located on the banks of river Jhelum was also inundated and soldiers were seen shifting equipment to safer locations. Even the CM’s cavalcade was stuck in flood water near the Army headquarters while he was touring flood-affected areas of the city. Jhelum was was flowing 9 feet above danger mark at Sangam in South Kashmir.
The government has already sounded red alert across the Valley and set up round the clock control rooms. Due to floods, the Haj flights have also been postponed.