This Article is From Sep 08, 2014

Water 12 Feet Deep in Many Parts of Srinagar

Water 12 Feet Deep in Many Parts of Srinagar

Women and the elderly being evacuated from a flooded neighbourhood in Srinagar on Sept. 7, 2014 (Associated Press)

Srinagar: Five days of incessant rains in Kashmir have left nearly 150 people dead in the region's worst flooding in more than five decades, submerging hundreds of villages and triggering landslides.

Rescue efforts in Srinagar are being hampered by fast-moving floodwaters that submerged large parts of the city.

The rains stopped on Sunday, but officials said the spreading water from the overflowing Jhelum River are moving too fast to allow boats to reach many people stranded in Srinagar.

In many of Srinagar's neighborhoods, the water was about 4 meters (12 feet) deep, submerging entire houses. Stranded residents left their homes to move in with friends or relatives in safer areas.

"I'm in my 80s and I've never seen floods like this," said Ghulam Nabi, speaking through a window from the third story of his house in Srinagar's upscale Rajbagh section. "If this is how it is in my neighborhood, I cannot imagine the devastation in other areas."

Floodwaters entered the first floor of the state's main maternity hospital, forcing more than 200 patients and attendants to move to higher floors of the building.

Thousands of police officers and army rescue workers were fanned out across Jammu and Kashmir to help with relief and rescue efforts.

At windows and balconies, worried residents looked at the swirling waters and waited for help. "The situation is extremely grim," top civilian official Rohit Kansal said. "We are not able to reach many people because the water is moving so fast."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi surveyed the flood-hit areas from a helicopter Sunday and promised the state federal help to deal with the devastation, which he described as a "national level disaster."

Across Kashmir, at least 450 villages have been submerged and 2,000 others have been affected by the floodwaters, officials said. All schools, colleges and offices have been shut, and electricity and drinking water supplies have been limited across the state.