The rescue operation to locate 20 people missing after a cloudburst in a village in Jammu and Kashmir's Kishtwar resumed Friday after remaining suspended for hours together owing to inclement weather, officials said.
Seven persons were found dead and 17 others were rescued in an injured condition after the remote Honzar village in Dacchan tehsil was hit by flash floods triggered by the cloudburst in the early hours of Wednesday, damaging 21 houses, 21 cow sheds, a ration depot, a bridge, and a mosque.
The rescue operation was interrupted by heavy rains late Thursday night and resumed around noon after a slight improvement in the weather conditions, the officials said.
The search and rescue operation gained momentum on Thursday after the Indian Air Force (IAF) pressed three helicopters from Jammu, Srinagar, and Udhampur and made eight sorties, transferring relief load of 2250 kgs, 44 NDRF, and SRDF personnel, and four medical assistants besides evacuating two critically injured persons from Soundar to Kishtwar for specialised treatment.
An official of disaster management said no helicopter sorties from Kishtwar to Soundar could mature since 6 am on Friday due to inclement weather.
The IAF had stationed an MI-17 helicopter in standby mode at Kishtwar since Thursday, he said.
Six teams of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) with sophisticated equipment are involved in the operation along with other rescuers from police, Army and local volunteers, the officials said.
A Meteorological Department official said the weather remained overcast with light rain at most places across Jammu and Kashmir.
"Same conditions are most likely to continue throughout the day. A brief spell of heavy showers may occur at some places which may trigger flash flood, mudslide, and landslide," the official said, advising people to remain alert and move away from vulnerable places