A flood alert was sounded in low-lying areas of central and south Kashmir on Saturday morning following heavy rain and rising water levels in the Jhelum. Two persons died in flood-related incidents in Kashmir, while three died in Jammu. Srinagar-bound traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar highway was suspended, leaving hundreds of commuters stranded, officials said. The Amarnath Yatra was suspended from both routes (Baltal and Pahalgam) due to landslides. At 6 pm, the Jhelum was flowing at 22.77 feet at Sangam in south Kashmir and 20.95 feet at Ram Munshibagh in Srinagar.
Flood declaration levels at both places are at 21 feet and 18 feet, respectively. The weather improved late evening and water levels receded at both gauges. By 9 pm, Sangam recorded water levels at 22.31 feet and Ram Munshi Bagh at 20.89 feet.
Regional Meteorological Director at Srinagar, Sonam Lotus said, “The weather has improved significantly and is likely to remain the same until Monday.”
Meanwhile, residents of Srinagar living near the Jhelum prepared to move to higher floors in their homes, the deluge of September 2014 fresh on their minds.
B B Vyas, Advisor to Governor N N Vohra, said the administration was “fully geared to tackle the situation in view of the looming flood threat”. He said there was no need to panic, but people “should take precautions”. The Amarnath yatra will resume after the tracks are cleared and weather improves, he added.
A singer died after reportedly slipping into the Vaishaw Nallah in Checkpora village of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district. An official said the deceased, identified as Tariq Ahmad Dar, son of Rahman Dar, drowned “while he was trying to get planks of wood”. An 18-year-old living in Tengpora drowned in a flood channel near Aalochibagh in Srinagar while rescuing a dog, police said. Efforts were on to fish out the body of Asif Ahmad Malik, who hails from Nagrota in Jammu.
Srinagar police and the district administration have established helplines and identified relief camps in the eventuality of an evacuation. The chief secretary has issued orders to ensure supply of all essential services including rations. Advisor to the Governor K Vijay Kumar and Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam called an emergency meeting of senior officers of the civil and police administration as well as the Army early Saturday to review preparedness across Kashmir division.