Jhelum River Threatens More Floods in Kashmir After 48 Hours of Rain

Levels of the Jhelum river and several of its tributaries in Kashmir, India, have risen sharply after 48 hours of incessant rain.

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 16 people are believed to be dead after they were trapped under a landslide in Ledan area of central Indian-held Kashmir’s Bidgam district. Police sources said that they have so far recovered the dead bodies of 10 victims who had been buried under the landslide Monday morning.

“Rescue operations are still on but with every passing hour, the chances of rescuing anyone alive are diminished,” a senior police official told The Anadolu Agency.

The Jhelum river and several of its streams swelled after incessant rains poured into the valley for more than 48 hours.

“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 the Irrigation and Flood Control department Javed Jaffer told The Anadolu Agency. “The flood alert has been sounded in Srinagar and Pulwama districts.”

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,” said Adil Ahmad Khan, a resident of the Nowgam area.

The downpour, meanwhile, stopped early Monday morning, giving hope to people that the water levels could recede.

The floods in September, which were the worst the region had experienced 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 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 The Anadolu Agency.

SRINAGAR, INDIA-MARCH 29 : Kashmiri muslims cross a waterlogged street in 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 : Kashmiri muslims cross a waterlogged street in 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 : 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 : 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 : 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 : 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.