JAMMU, July 19:
In a devastating incident triggered by heavy overnight rains, eight people, including five children, were killed after heavy rains triggered landslides and left several houses damaged in Kathua district on Wednesday, officials said.
"We have eight confirmed deaths in rain-related incidents. The administration is keeping a close watch on the flood-like situation developing in the district," Kathua Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Minhas told here.
Meanwhile, Kathua Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Minhas ordered an immediate ex-gratia relief of Rs 50,000 to the next kin of the deceased.
Expressing condolences over the loss of lives, he said an immediate relief of Rs 50,000 for the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 25,000 to those injured was sanctioned.
Braving incessant rains, rescuers comprising police, Army, SDRF and locals worked for hours together to retrieve the bodies of five members of two families from the debris of their houses at Surjan village, he said.
A police official identified the deceased as Zareena Begum (40), her two sons Shahbaz Ahmad (14) and Arbaz (2), Nazia Tabassum (14) and her brother Mohd Asif (12).
At Sitti village, 13-year-old Ajay Singh came under a landslide near his house, while the body of Naseema Begum (55) was also recovered after she came under a landslide near her house at Drangal-Mandote, the official said.
Sham Lal (50) also died after coming under the debris of a landslide at Bhuldi Nallah near Daggar while he was trying to clear a water passage to avoid damage to his house, he said, adding Lal's body was recovered and handed over to his family.
The official said while two houses were completely damaged, several others suffered partial damages due to heavy rains in the district.
A number of low-lying areas especially near the banks of Ujh river and its tributaries were left inundated, prompting police to request people to move to safer places.
Meanwhile, the situation remains critical, with water bodies, including rivers and rivulets, flowing dangerously close to their danger levels in many places across Kathua and Samba districts.
Meanwhile, a bridge at Chadwal in Kathua district was also damaged due to heavy rain and flash floods in Tarnah nallah.
The Deputy Commissioner (DC) Kathua, Rakesh Minhas, said the traffic movement on the Jammu Pathankot Highway has been diverted from Kathua due to damage to the pillars of the bridge connecting Jammu and Pathankot.
“The expert team is examining the extent of the damage to the bridge,” the DC informed Rising Kashmir, while adding, “the repair work of the bridge is likely to be started tomorrow after complete assessment”.
Almost all the water bodies including rivers and rivulets in many places in Kathua and Samba districts are flowing close to danger level.
The rivers including Ujh in Kathua and Basantar in Samba have crossed the danger mark. The water level in Tawi, Chenab and its tributaries in Jammu are also flowing close to the danger mark.
The people residing in hilly areas and near the nallahs and other water bodies have been advised to stay alert for the next 24 hours in Jammu region.
“There is possibility of rainfall in the next 24 hours in Jammu region,” Director, Meteorological Department, Sonam Lotus said, while adding, “some places may witness heavy rainfall in next 24 hours”.
Authorities are urging caution and vigilance during this critical period to prevent any further loss of life and property.
LG Sinha grieves over loss of lives in house collapse
Lt Governor Manoj Sinha expressed grief over the loss of lives in the rain-related incidents and said he had directed the district administration to provide all possible aid to the bereaved families who have lost their near and dear ones as well as medical assistance to the injured.
Union minister Jitendra Singh also took to Twitter to express his sadness about the casualties in his parliamentary constituency due to incessant rains.
Singh said he is in constant touch with the deputy commissioner and SSP Kathua Shivdeep Singh Jamwal and said all possible assistance is being provided.