Kashmir Floods: 6 Lakh Stranded, Nearly 50,000 Rescued

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Kashmir Floods: 6 Lakh Stranded, Nearly 50,000 Rescued

People make their way along a flooded street in Srinagar on September 9, 2014 (Agence France-Presse photo)

Srinagar/Jammu:  About six lakh people are still believed to be trapped in flood-ravaged Srinagar and south Kashmir. Over 49,000 people have so far been rescued in a massive multi-agency operation and the Centre has asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to list their names on its website.
Here are the latest developments:
  1. Almost 200 people have died in the state's worst floods in 60 years. With the weather clearing, 61 Air Force choppers and transport aircraft have made non-stop sorties through the night and on Tuesday to carry men, equipment like boats and cutters, and relief material, including medicines and bottled water. (Here's How You Can Help)
  2. The floods have snapped the Valley's telecommunication links with the rest of the country and there has been panic as people have not been able to contact those stranded since Sunday night. Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth said 2,500 mobile phone towers are down and efforts are on "overtime" to get them working. The state-run BSNL is being helped by the Army and Air Force to restore mobile services through satellite network and services are expected to be partially restored today, officials said. (SOS From Stranded People)
  3. The Home Ministry has set up a control room in Srinagar to monitor flood relief operations and additional teams of the NDRF have been sent to the region.
  4. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah described the current floods as the worst in 109 years, adding, "I understand the anger and frustration but it is not true that nothing is being done. There will always be some dissatisfaction when something like this happens. I know people have lost everything, we promise to rehabilitate them. No relief and rehab camps can be perfect. We are doing all we can," he said.
  5. The Army said the J&K national highway, which links the valley to the rest of the country will take about four to five days to open again. The 300-km-long national highway has been closed to vehicular traffic for five days because of landslides and floods. The Srinagar-Leh highway was opened today.
  6. The Army said 10 to 15 people are being brought out in every round that a rescue boat makes into inundated areas where people are trapped in their homes and other buildings. Each boat is making 50 to 60 rounds a day. "We will move out only after rescuing everybody," Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag said. The Army has also set up medical camps and said their doctors are treating 200-300 people every day.
  7. Seven helicopters have been pressed to ferry relief material to Rajouri, Poonch, Reasi, Mahore, Doda and Kishtwar belts, officials said. Naval commandos have also been deployed for the first time.
  8. Two units of the Army and National Disaster Response Force teams have been airdropped in Pancheri, Udhampur, where 30 people are missing after a landslide hit the area. Seven bodies have been recovered so far, but the operation to locate those in Udhampur is very tough said officials.
  9. However, the situation in the Jammu region has stabilised and the focus is now on providing relief material on the ground, officials said. 68 relief camps have been set up in Jammu.
  10. The prime ministers of India and Pakistan have offered to help each other in efforts to alleviate the flood havoc in Kashmir. Nearly 200 people have been killed in floods and rain-related incidents in Pakistan.
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