Rajouri: The inhabitants including the traders of four municipal wards in Surankote town of Poonch district suffered losses worth crores of rupees in the flash floods triggered by a heavy downpour on Sunday evening, which also damaged over a dozen houses and around 30 vehicles.
Flash floods wreaked havoc as the water seeped into the houses and shops, causing extensive damage to the properties and other commodities.
The main affected localities were Dak Bungalow Mohalla, Tehsil office Mohalla, BDO office Mohalla, Iqbal Nagar, and Hari Mohalla in the four municipal wards of Surankote town.
Over a dozen houses suffered partial to major damage while around 30 vehicles were washed away in flood waters and suffered damages.
The district administration launched a massive post-flood operation for the restoration of water and electricity besides sanitation in the town.
Officials said that they had completed the restoration of water and power supply by almost 70 percent by Monday evening.
The flash floods hit parts of Surankote town at around 9 pm on Sunday following a heavy downpour in the area.
Gushing waters from some small-flooded streams entered the town and wreaked havoc for over three hours.
The locals described the experience as a “nightmare” they had never witnessed.
“It was a nightmare for everyone in the town as gushing waters were coming down the hills. Within no time, strong water currents entered our house and shops, and everyone was running here and there for safety,” the locals said recounting moments of horror.
“The situation was so scary that televisions, radios, carpets, and other commodities from shops were flowing in the flood water. We had no option but to see it helplessly or run here and there to save our lives,” they said. “A large number of houses and shops in the town were affected by the flash floods after water along with mud, stones, and trash entered inside, damaging properties. Even refrigerators and inverters lying inside suffered damage and basements of almost every single shop and house in these localities were filled with water and mud.”
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Vijay Sehgal of Surankote said, “We urge the government to constitute a special team for assessment of losses on account of this flash flood. Immediate financial aid should be provided to the affected families while all necessary preventive steps should be taken to avoid such a situation in the future. All drains and water channels should be properly cleaned and illegal encroachment leading to choking of water channels removed.”
Meanwhile, a team of the district administration headed by Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Poonch, Basharat Hussain along with Sub Divisional Magistrate Surankote, Nahim-un-Nisa, Deputy SP Tanveer Jeelani, and other officers led a massive operation to restore power and water supply besides sanitation in the town. The work, which started early Monday morning, was going on till late in the evening.
ADC Poonch Basharat Hussain told Greater Kashmir that the operation was launched in the morning.
“The officials from the civil administration besides employees from different departments dealing with essential supplies along with Police and municipal committee staff remained engaged throughout the day,” he said. “We have succeeded in restoring electricity and water supply in all the affected areas. The challenging task of sanitation has also been completed by 70 percent. We are hopeful to complete the rest in a day or two.”
The ADC Poonch said that as the administration managed to clear almost 70 percent of the market area, the shops in these areas resumed functioning by late Monday afternoon.
“The clearance of water and slush from inside houses and shops is the next challenging task. About 60 percent of this task has been accomplished using water tankers of the Fire and Emergency Services and the Jal Shakti Department with the manpower of municipal committee and Police,” he said.
Hussain said that the exact quantum of loss in terms of financial value could not be gauged as of now.
“However, the walls and other portions of around a dozen houses have collapsed while water entered the basement portion of almost every shop in the affected localities, damaging commodities and causing loss worth crores of rupees,” he said.
The ADC Poonch said that around 30 vehicles including two-wheelers parked alongside roads were washed away.
“Vehicles too suffered damages and removal of these vehicles from the congested localities was another challenging task,” he said.