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5 dead, several missing due to cloudburst in Jammu’s Kishtwar district

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Jammu: At least five bodies were recovered and many are reported to be missing after a cloud burst over Honjar village in Kishtwar district in Jammu region early Wednesday.

An officer at the police control room, however, put the number of missing people at 28.

“At around 4am today [Wednesday], a cloud burst over Honjar village in Dacchan area of Kishtwar district. We are getting reports that 28 people are missing. A search and rescue operation has been launched. We do not have the exact details for now. There’s no mobile phone connectivity in the area,” he added.

Kishtwar town is around 200km from Jammu while Dacchan is a remote and hilly area in Kishtwar district.

Kishtwar district police chief, SSP Shafqat Bhat said, “We have recovered five bodies so far from the debris. We believe that 30 to 40 people were in the village when the incident took place.”

The SSP said that bridges on one side of the affected area have been washed away and the river is in spate.

“We have sent rescue teams from the nearby police pickets. An army column has also been sent,” he said.

Bhat said that the affected village is around 50km from Kishtwar district headquarters.

Teams from the Indian Air Force are expected to join the rescue operation shortly to join shortly, teams from National Disaster Response Force are being airlifted from Jammu to Kishtwar, Kishtwar DC Ashok Kumar Sharma said.

Meanwhile, union home minister Amit Shah said saving as many lives as possible is a priority. “I have spoken to the LG & DGP of Jammu & Kashmir regarding the cloudburst in Kishtwar. State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF), Army & local administration are carrying out the rescue operation. NDRF is also reaching there. Our priority is to save as many lives as possible,” he said.

According to the Indian Army, assistance was sought for the rescue operation immediately after information from the district deputy commissioner regarding the cloudburst at Honzar village was received.

“Accordingly, a party of 1-1-20 under Captain Vivek Chauhan ex-Sondar COB 17 RR has been launched at 7am. SHO and 07 Jammu and Kashmir Police personnel from Sirsi police station have also been launched,” said a statement from the Indian Army.

SDRF commandant General VK Singh said that a team with police personnel have left for the spot on foot.

“The area is in the upper reaches of Kishtwar, not accessible by road. Jammu SDRF is on standby. The weather is inclement. One team of SDRF from Srinagar is ready to be airlifted,” said VK Singh.

The India Meteorological Department has forecast severe weather for Jammu and Kashmir. According to the forecast, “Widespread intermittent rain most likely to continue till July 30. Heavy to very heavy rain is also possible at some places.”

IMD also put out an advisory, stating, “Heavy rain may lead to flash flood, mudslide, landslide and waterlogging (in low lying areas). Accordingly, people are once again advised to remain alert and very cautious as water levels have risen in all rivers. Don’t venture out on hilly and landslide, mudslide prone areas.”

 

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