It is official – over 200 people have died while more than 20,000 houses were damaged, fully or partially, in landslides and flash floods triggered by week long incessant rains across Jammu region alone.
Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Shantmanu, said on Thursday afternoon that that these were the initial figures received by them. The final figures will take time as they are yet to receive information from far off hilly areas where road link is yet to be restored.
These deaths include victims of the Nowshera bus and Pancheri landslides whose bodies are still missing. While 46 bodies from among 67 people travelling in the ill-fated bus have been recovered, there are nearly 30 people buried under the landslides in a village near Pancheri.
Similarly, though the administration is yet to have any final figure about the live stock perished in floods and incessant rains, they have so far received reports about the death of 2,500 of them, he said, putting the total number of government buildings damaged fully or partially during the flood fury at over 170. Of these, nearly 30-35 may include government schools, he said, adding that while those educational institutions having their buildings totally damaged will remain closed, others will reopen on Friday.
Pointing out that their survey about the affected villages and buildings is in progress, he said that as per broad estimates, nearly 1,600 villages of the total 3,300 villages across Jammu region are directly or indirectly affected by the natural calamity.
With Army, police and civil administration having rescued over 23,000 people from areas hit by floods and landslides in Jammu region and rehabilitating them at safer places for the time being, the rescue job has almost been complete as there is no person left anywhere in the region who is marooned or trapped in landslides and needed to be rescued, he pointed out. “As such, we are now focusing on relief and restoration of damaged infrastructure,” he added.
In this context, he pointed out that as per reports of the Deputy Commissioner, Reasi, there were 30 locations which were cut off from road and needed air dropping of relief material. The airdropping of food, water and other relief material has taken place at 17 places since Wednesday, he said, adding that it would start at other places soon.
Similarly, road link to all district headquarters and tehsils has been restored and the internal road links are likely to be made functional within a week, he added.
“The relief and restoration works are going on round the clock,” he said, adding that the Jammu-Srinagar national highway which was closed due to landslides at Ramsoo has been restored for light motor vehicles.
In view of the situation in Valley, the first 20 light motor vehicles carrying ration supplies were allowed from Jammu side on Thursday morning. During the last three days, nearly 75 tons of eatables including food packets, fruits and drinking water had been sent to the Valley from Jammu, he said, adding that the situation there is likely to ease with more supplies rushed from Jammu side in coming days.