Deaths Feared After Flood and Landslides in Kashmir

Kashmiris fear another disaster, only 6 months after region saw the worst floods in a century.

SRINAGAR, Indian-held Kashmir (AA) – Landslides and flooding caused by heavy rains have raised fears in Kashmir of a repeat of major flooding that hit the region only six months ago.

At least 10 people are believed to be trapped in buildings that were hit by landslides caused by the unprecedented bad weather.

“The waters in river Jhelum ran over the danger levels last night and we have made announcements for people living in low lying areas and near the embankments of the rivers and streams to vacate their houses and move to safer places,” Chief Engineer of Irrigation and Flood Control department Javed Jaffer told Anadolu Agency. “The flood alert has been sounded in Srinagar and Pulwama districts.”

SRINAGAR, INDIA-MARCH 29 : A Kashmiri muslim carries his belongings in waterlogged city center Lal chowk in Srinagar the summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir on March 29,2015 .The valley has been witnessing heavy rainfall since Saturday, leading to a fresh floods panic and sudden surge in water level in rivers, streams and rivulet across Kashmir.  Photo: AA
SRINAGAR, INDIA-MARCH 29 : Srinagar the summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir on March 29,2015 .The valley has been witnessing heavy rainfall since Saturday, leading to a fresh floods panic and sudden surge in water level in rivers, streams and rivulet across Kashmir. Photo: AA

According to the Irrigation and Flood Control department, the Jhelum’s water level at the Ram Munshi Bagh gauge at 11 am was 19.40 feet, more than a foot over the danger mark, while in Sangam in south Kashmir, the water had risen to 22.50 feet, a foot and half over the danger mark.

Even before the government announced the flood alert, thousands of people shifted their belongings to the upper floors of their homes and dispatched older family members and children to safer areas.

“There is panic all over here and people cannot believe that they are in the middle of another flood when they have not yet recovered from the last floods,” Adil Ahmad Khan, a resident of the Nowgam area told AA.

The downpour, meanwhile, stopped early Monday morning, giving hope to people that the waters may recede.

SRINAGAR, INDIA-MARCH 29 : A Kashmiri muslim carries his belongings in waterlogged city center Lal chowk in Srinagar the summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir on March 29,2015 .The valley has been witnessing heavy rainfall since Saturday, leading to a fresh floods panic and sudden surge in water level in rivers, streams and rivulet across Kashmir.
SRINAGAR, INDIA-MARCH 29 : Lal chowk in Srinagar the summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir on March 29,2015 .The valley has been witnessing heavy rainfall since Saturday, leading to a fresh floods panic and sudden surge in water level in rivers, streams and rivulet across Kashmir. Photo: AA

The floods in September, which were the worst in a century, killed more than 300 people and caused unprecedented damage to property, business and infrastructure, still visible in the regional capital Srinagar.

Experts say the floods deposited a large volume of silt in the flood channels, which were not properly been dredged after the local government began to focus on state elections in November.

“They did not clear the flood channels, and there have been rains and snow and the melting of glaciers has contributed to this situation. But what is most important is that we are staring at a catastrophe once again,” a senior Government official in the Meteorological department told AA.

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