M A I N   N E W S

J-K flood fury
Epidemic threat looms even as rescue efforts gather pace
IAF copters, rescue teams attacked MoS, Central officers oversee rescue ops   Key hospitals submerged
Arun Joshi
Tribune News Service

Tragic milestones are being crossed in Jammu and Kashmir as sighting of floating bodies in the floodwaters of Srinagar and other places threatens to take the death toll to a frightening level.

The death toll has already crossed 300. The fear of more casualties seems real as reports suggest the gushing waters did not give residents in many areas enough time to move to safer places. These are mostly the hilly areas of Jammu region, including Poonch, Reasi, Udhampur and Ramban districts.

The threat of an epidemic outbreak looms with bodies and animal carcasses having been seen in the city and other parts of the Valley.

The authorities have voiced concern that the death toll could go up as they are yet to receive reports from some areas.

The armed forces continued with their relief and rescue operations for the 10th day today, rescuing over 1.1 lakh people from across the state. But miscreants tried to hamper their work by attacking Indian Air Force helicopters and rescue boats with stones in Srinagar.

This despite the fact that the rescue teams have been making efforts to reach the most inaccessible areas, including Qamarwari, Raj Bagh, Bemina, Jawahar Nagar and Gogjibagh, which have been under water for over a week.

Eyewitnesses have spotted bodies floating in the flood-hit areas of Raj Bagh, Jawahar Nagar and Bemina. One of the bodies found was that of a photojournalist, Shafaq Sadiq. His body was found in Raj Bagh, a posh locality of Srinagar.

As the armed forces were rushing more men and machinery to further step up the relief and rescue operations and reach the inaccessible areas, bureaucrats and ministers were fleeing the flood-hit Valley. They are flying out to Delhi, Jammu and other places out of the Valley, leaving the government completely crippled. State machinery is negligible on the ground.

The government seems ill-prepared to meet the threat of epidemic. The fear of the infection is spreading because of the slush and the diseases that the receded water leaves in its trail.

As the situation stands today, the threat of an epidemic is looming large across the Valley and some parts of Jammu, where the people have not been able to come out of the water-logged areas in and around their homes. The condition in the relief camps is also far from hygienic.

The Centre has its visibility on the ground. It has sent MoS in PMO Jitendra Singh and some Central government officers to oversee the rescue and relief operations. The Central team has appreciated and encouraged the armed forces for their act of valour and unique efforts in rescuing the people.

The Central team will also make assessment of the losses and the need for food, water, doctors and medicines. The key hospitals in Srinagar are submerged and doctors are trapped in the flood waters. Those who have been able to work do not have sufficient stock of medicines.

Death toll: 300 plus

Death toll feared: Close to 400 as of Thursday
People rescued (total):
Those rescued on Thursday:
Army personnel deployed:
Number of people still trapped across Valley:
Areas cut off in Srinagar:
Bemina, Pantha Chowk, Raj Bagh, Jawahar Nagar
Areas cut off in Valley:
Anantnag, Awantipore, Qazigund
Areas cut off in Jammu:
Surankote in Poonch, Mahore in Reasi, Gool-Gulabgarh





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