Kishtwar cloudburst leaves trail of destruction

19 missing in Honzar still untraceable; 3 IAF choppers pressed in for rescue operation, 2250 kg relief load airlifted, 44 NDRF, SDRF personnel, 4 medical assistants moved in 8 sorties
Kishtwar cloudburst leaves trail of destruction
An injured person is being helped by attendants, police and the health workers at the District Hopspital Kishtwar.Mir Imran for Greater Kashmir

Jammu: Devastated by the deaths of their loved ones and loss of property in the cloudburst and flash floods of Wednesday, Honzar village in Kishtwar was in a state of mourning today with hopelessness growing about the survival of 19 missing persons, sources said.

Even as the search and rescue operation continued for the second consecutive day, the teams were not able to trace the missing persons because of massive destruction, huge boulders and debris spread around, officials said.

The rescue teams believe that the bodies may have come under the debris, or they may have washed away in the flash floods following the cloudburst, sources said.

On Wednesday, 7 bodies were recovered and 17 injured were rescued by the police, army, NGOs and locals, while 19 persons, whose list was released, were missing.

Today early morning, an official said, the rescue operations resumed in Honzar village. Well-equipped NDRF and SDRF teams were airlifted from Kishtwar in Indian Air Force choppers to join the rescue operation.

The search operations were being carried out under the supervision of ADGP Jammu Mukesh Singh accompanied by Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Raghav Langer, DIG Doda-Kishtwar-Ramban range and Deputy Commissioner Kishtwar. “Three IAF helicopters, one each from Jammu, Udhampur and Srinagar, were used to airlift SDRF and NDRF teams to Kishtwar,” an official said.

The official said, “In eight sorties, these helicopters transferred a relief load of 2250 kg, and moved 44 NRDF and SDRF personnel, 4 medical assistants, and 2 stretcher patients.” The two critically injured people were evacuated from Sondar to District Hospital, Kishtwar. Meanwhile, district police have established camps at Dangadooru and Soundar to receive and dispatch relief and rescue materials for the flood affected people of Honzar village.

Besides, the police have constituted special teams and they were deputed to the cloud burst hit area from District Police Line, Kishtwar.

The village has witnessed an unprecedented destruction which has destroyed 21 houses, 21 cattle sheds, one ration depot, over seven-foot bridges, and government infrastructure in the village and other places of the district following heavy rains during the intervening night of July 27 – July 28, 2021.

NO TIME TO ESCAPE

A volunteer of Ababeel - an NGO - Baber-ul-Islam told Greater Kashmir that their teams have already reached the village and joined other rescue operation to evacuate the injured and to provide relief to the victims of cloudburst.

“The situation is unexplainable. There is destruction everywhere,” he said while quoting his colleagues working in village Honzar, who had revealed it to him on phone. He said that as per his colleagues there is a stream of water in the village. “On the ill-fated day, the water level all of a sudden increased. The locals came out of their homes and witnessed the rising water level,” he said.

He said that the water level was increasing abnormally and the people ran towards their homes without knowing what was going to happen.

“People thought it was a flash flood due to heavy rains and they ran for shelter. It was the time when the cloud burst and massive water gushed towards the village with boulders and debris, giving no time to the people to escape,” Baber while quoting the eyewitnesses said.

He said the cloudburst washed away everything including humans, cattle, houses, trees, etc. that came its way.

He said that people are frightened. “We do not know what happened after 8:30 PM during the intervening night of July 27 and 28,” he quoted an eyewitness as saying in bewilderment.

Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports claim that a religious place, a foot bridge, and eight residential houses have also been damaged in Kiyar village in Dachhan due to the heavy rains or cloudburst. This village, according to the locals, is situated close to Honzar village.

Greater Kashmir
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