SRINAGAR: At least 13 persons were killed and nearly 40 others were injured after a cloudburst hit at lower Amarnath cave at Kali Mata Y Junction on Friday, officials said here.
Chief Medical Officer (CM) Ganderbal, Dr Afroza Shah said that although the exact number of casualties is not known yet, the figures so far received said that 13 persons have died in the cloudburst.
She also said that more than 40 persons have got injured including two with head injuries in the incident. “The rescue operation is still going on,” she said, adding that the injured are being given first aid and the persons with head injury are being airlifted for specialized treatment.
CMO Ganderbal further stated the base hospital has been kept in a ready mode where critical care specialists and paramedical staff is deployed. “At least 28 doctors and 98 paramedical staff are at the base hospital to tackle the emergency situation,” she said, adding that 16 ambulances have been kept in a ready mode, but said that no evacuation has been received yet.
“All the injured as per the reports received are stable,” she said and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.
Moreover, Kashmir Zone Police in a tweet quoting Inspector General of Police (IGP) confirmed the death of wight persons and said that the injured persons are being airlifted for treatment while the situation is under control.
“Cloud burst at Holy Cave Update: Six more deaths reported (Total 08 deaths so far). Injured persons airlifted for treatment. Rescue operation still going on,” police tweeted.
In another Tweet police said: “Some langars and tents have come under cloud burst/flash floods at #HolyCave. 02 deaths reported. #Rescue operation by Police, NDRF & SFs in progress. Injured being airlifted for treatment. #Situation under #control. IGP Kashmir,” Kashmir Zone Police tweeted.
Soon after the incident took place, a massive rescue operation was launched while chopper was also pressed into service to evacuate the injured persons.
The officials told that three langers got washed away due to heavy flow of water near the holy cave. They said a few persons are reportedly missing after the incident occurred at around 05:30 PM.
They said that the rescue operation has been launched, adding that ITBP, CRPF, J&K Police, Army and others have been involved in the massive rescue operation.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Lieutenant Governor Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha and other top authorities expressed pain and sorrow over the incident.
PM in a tweet said that he spoke to J&K LG and took stock of the situation and said that all possible assistance is being provided to the affected.
“Anguished by the cloud burst near Shree Amarnath cave. Condolences to the bereaved families. Spoke to @manojsinha_ Ji and took stock of the situation. Rescue and relief operations are underway. All possible assistance is being provided to the affected,” PM Modi tweeted.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that he is in constant touch with the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. He, in a tweet, also said that NDRF, CRPF, BSF and local administration are engaged in the rescue work and said that saving lives is our priority.
President of India, Ram Nath Kovind expressed condolences to the bereaved families and hoped that the yatra would resume soon.
“I am distressed to learn that a cloudburst near Amarnath shrine has claimed several lives. My condolences to the bereaved families. Relief and rescue measures are in full swing to provide succour to those stranded. I pray and hope that the yatra be soon resumed,” President of India tweeted.
Lieutenant Governor, J&K also expressed grief over the loss of lives and said that rescue operation is in progress.
“Deeply pained by unfortunate incident of cloudburst at Shri Amarnathji holy cave, in which precious lives have been lost. I send my heartfelt condolences to bereaved families. Rescue operation by NDRF, SDRF, BSF, Army, JKP & Shrine board admin is in progress.The CRPF is engaged in rescue & relief operations and helping the pilgrims. ALH Choppers pressed into action for rescue of injured,” Office of LG J&K tweeted.
He also said that he spoke to the PM and Union HM and briefed them about the incident. Sinha said that the duo assured all the help.
“Spoke to Hon’ble PM & Hon’ble HM and briefed about the incident. Hon’ble PM & Hon’ble HM has assured all the help. Our priority is to save the lives of people. Instructions have been issued to provide all necessary assistance to pilgrims. I am closely monitoring the situation,” Office of LG J&K tweeted.
Union Minister, Dr Jitendra Singh also said that he is in constant touch with the UT administration.
“Disturbed to receive the news of unfortunate cloud burst over the lower holy cave of Shri #Amarnath. I am in constant touch with the UT administration. The SDRF and NDRF teams have promptly swung into action to provide all possible relief and assistance,” said Union Minister, Dr Jitendra Singh—(KNO)