The Jammu & Kashmir Government on Thursday sounded high alert and asked the Indian Air Force to keep its helicopters on standby, while Army troops launched rescue operations at various places as the death toll in the J&K flash floods rose to 12 including a Border Security Force inspector during the last 36 hours.
The exact details about loss of lives and property were being ascertained as the power and water supply, besides telecommunication system was disrupted at many places since yesterday. However, while over 100 people were reportedly marooned in many a flood hit areas across Jammu region, sources said that the Jammu-Srinagar national highway and the Batote-Doda national highway was also closed following landslides on Thursday morning. The situation was no different in other hilly districts of Ramban, Kathua and Udhampur where many link roads were closed.
Identifying the deceased BSF inspector Mohammad Rashid of 154 Battalion, official sources said that he got buried under the debris of a bunker which collapsed at Kinari Kundra post along the Line of Control (LoC) in Saujian area. The deceased was a resident of Surankote, sources said, adding that other BSF personnel managed to come out of the bunker in time.
Other casualties include a woman who died in Mahore on Thursday morning, and sepoy Balbir Singh of 40 Rashtriya Rifles who was washed away in Mandi area yesterday. Three people including a woman had washed away in Surankote and another villager in Poonch the same day.
In Reasi district also, five people including four children and a woman had died after their dhok collapsed following landslides in the area.
With rivers still in spate and MET officials predicting rains to continue till Friday evening, many areas of Jammu region were cut off following landslides and flash floods. The damage was more in border Poonch district where more than 100 buildings have washed away and road link between all major towns was snapped.
The police post at Behramgala near Buffliaz had washed away in flash floods. Though there was no loss of life as people there managed to reach safer places, most of the weapons and the official records too had washed away, sources said.
The border Poonch district was cut off from rest of the state following closure of both the Mughal road linking it with Valley and the three other roads coming from Rajouri district via Mendhar and Surankote, besides Dehra Ki Gali (DKG) were also closed due to landslides and flash floods at various places, sources said. A number of bridges on the road between Surankote to Buffliaz too had washed away, while the Sher-i-Kashmir bridge connecting Poonch town with the road from Surankote also had sustained extensive damage due to floods.
The Jammu-Srinagar national highway, which was reopened for vehicular traffic on Wednesday afternoon, was closed again today morning following landslides at various places. The Batote-Doda highway also was closed at various places with reports of landslides at Pul Doda, Assar and various other places. All link roads in the district including Bhaderwah-Bhalra were closed, sources said, adding that shooting stones from the mountains were making travel risky.
While the Indian Army have launched rescue operations at various places, sources said that IAF was unable to fly its choppers from Jammu in view of bad weather. A defence ministry spokesman here said that the army has so far succeeded in rescuing 108 people from flood hit areas.