Search continues for 19 missing after cloudburst in Kishtwar village, IAF joins rescue operations

cloudburst, Kishtwar village, Indian Air Force, NDRF

Although the rescue operations in the Honzar village of Kishtwar were stepped up on Thursday when the weather slightly opened the teams of the Army, Police, NDRF and SDRF were unable to trace till late afternoon any of the 19 missing persons from the debris downstream. Among the missing are 8 women who remained untraceable on the second day of the cloudburst that triggered flash floods leading to devastation in the area.

Seventeen seriously injured were rescued and eight bodies recovered on Wednesday when the operations were hampered due to rain and bad weather.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) joined the rescue operations this morning after the weather improved. Teams of NDRF and SDRF were flown to Kishtwar from Jammu and Srinagar and the critically injured were flown here for treatment in the medical college. The injured were admitted to the district hospital last evening as the IAF was unable to operate helicopter flights because of poor visibility.

With 19 persons still untraceable after the flash floods, it is feared that the number of dead might escalate. The rescue teams were since early morning scanning the area downstream, said a police officer. The cloudburst and the subsequent flashflood carried boulders, trees, muck and whatever came its way.

ADGP (Jammu) Mukesh Singh accompanied by the divisional commissioner Raghav Langer last evening rushed to Kishtwar by road to take stock of the situation and review the ongoing rescue and relief operations. They also met the injured persons in the hospital.

Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, who is keeping watch on the situation in the affected area, said that a joint NDRF and SDRF team left at 0545hrs from Jammu via road for Kishtwar has reached the affected village. The second team of 4 SDRF and 10 NDRF personnel with rescue equipment took off in an IAF helicopter from technical airport Jammu and landed at Kishtwar by 1220 hrs. Srinagar teams are also being taken in 2 helicopter sorties along with requisite equipment, he said.

The senior superintendent of police, Kishtwar, Shafqat Hussain was supervising the rescue operations that resumed this morning.

District Police Kishtwar has established camps at Dangadooru and Soundar for receipt and dispatch of relief and rescue material for the flood-affected people of Honzar village. Special teams for this purpose have been formed and deputed from the district police lines Kishtwar.

The J&K government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for the next of kin of those who lost their lives in the cloudburst. The grievously injured would be given Rs.50,000 each and Rs.12,700 under SDRF shall also be disbursed.

Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh said that the gates of the Salal Power Station in Reasi have been opened to manage incoming water due to heavy rainfall in the upper reaches.

Most parts of the Jammu region have been receiving incessant rains for the past few days and the Meteorological department has predicted widespread intermittent rain across Jammu and Kashmir till 30 July.

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