Even as Jammu had a bright sunny day after five days of the worst ever flood fury in the last six decades, nearly 30 people reportedly went missing following landslides in Pancheri area of Udhampur district Sunday morning.
While senior police officers in the district said that a police party was being airlifted to the area to confirm the information, the police control room in Udhampur admitted having received information on telephone about nearly 16 houses getting buried under the landslides. Admitting that they are still receiving reports about people buried under landslides or house collapse from various parts of remote hilly areas, DIG for Udhampur-Reasi range, Garib Dass said that it is difficult to confirm anything at present. “So far, we can confirm 32 deaths and damage to over 400 houses in Udhampur and Reasi districts,’’ he added.
Giving details, sources said that entire Saddal mohalla situated on a hill top in Panjar area of Pancheri vanished in landslides this morning. Nearly 30 people were missing, they said, adding that the loss would have been much more had the calamity struck during night.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a high level meeting attended by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and top officials reviewed the situation arising out of floods in Jammu region on Sunday morning. Abdullah, sources said, briefed the Prime Minsiter about the death and devastation caused by floods and landslides which have claimed more than 100 lives and damaged more nearly 1,000 houses, besides major and small bridges across the region.
Though the water in rivers had started receding after rains stopped last evening, the life remained out of gear as the floods have caused wide spread damage to roads, railway tracks and other infrastructure across the region. While many areas were still cut off from rest of the state, sources said that the train service on Jammu-Katra stretch and Banihal-Qazigund-Baramulla section were suspended due to landslides.
The yatra to Vaishnodevi shrine near Katra was also suspended for the last four days, sources said, adding that thousands of people were stranded at many places in the absence of transport services. As the trains were arriving at Jammu from Delhi and elsewhere the country, there was confusion and chaos among pilgrims who were being by railway and police officials to continue their onward journey to Katra by road.
The Army troops and IAF have launched rescue operations and rescued more than 5,000 people from different areas. However, thousands were still stranded at many places especially remote and hilly areas where people have started facing shortage of essential commodities.