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Heavy rains in Kathua kill 8, Yatra halted 

July 19, 2023

Rains disrupt traffic, force closure of schools, flood threat looms large

Jammu, July 19: A flood-like situation was prevails in the Jammu province, incessant rains disrupt traffic at several places forcing authorities to shut down schools for safety purposes.

In Kathua district, heavy rains resulted in the killing of at least eight persons. Officials in the Kathua administration confirmed eight casualties. 

According to officials, rains have caused widespread disruption in the district. 

Meanwhile, the Jammu-Srinagar highway was also closed due to landslides. Moreover, the authorities ordered closure of schools in Doda and Kishtwar districts “as a precautionary measure.”

Heavy rains triggered by a cloudburst hit the upper reaches while causing massive landslides that buried several houses and a few people who were working in the fields in several areas of the Jammu region. 

A house collapsed in the village of Bhalwal, killing four people and injuring two others. The four people who were killed were identified as Mohammad Aslam (35), his wife Parveena (30), their two children, Aaraf (6) and Afreen (4), and their uncle Mohammad Shabir (50).

The two injured people were taken to a hospital in Kathua, where they are being treated. The district administration has ordered an investigation into the incident.

In another incident, a woman was killed after coming under a landslide in the Bani area of the aforesaid district. A class 7th student, Ajay Singh son of late Mohiner singh was also buried under a landslide, but his body was later retrieved.

The bodies of the eight victims have been recovered and the injured have been taken to a nearby hospital.

The authorities have announced a compensation of Rs 50,000 for the deceased and Rs 25,000 for the injured.

The weather office has predicted more rains in the region. The water level in rivers and rivulets, especially in Kathua and Samba districts, has crossed the flood alert level.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted widespread to fairly widespread rainfall in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir over the next seven days. The IMD has also predicted the possibility of flash floods in low-lying areas of the region.

The police have issued an advisory asking people to follow diversion and temporary routes due to the closure of the Chadwal bridge on the Jammu-Pathankot national highway. The advisory also asked people to report suspicious activities to the nearest police station.

The rains also damaged roads and bridges in the district, disrupting traffic. The new track to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine has been closed due to inclement weather conditions, while the chopper service has also been suspended.

A fresh batch of 4900 pilgrims, which left for Amarnath shrine in Kashmir, has been halted at Yatri Niwas Chanderkote in Ramban due to shooting stones and landslides.

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha expressed grief over the loss of lives in house collapse and landslides triggered by heavy rains in Bani area of Kathua district.

The Lt Governor said: “I am deeply saddened to learn about the tragic incident triggered by heavy rains in Kathua, in which a number of persons have lost their lives and many others are feared trapped under the debris. Rescue and relief operations are currently underway. I have directed the district administration to provide all possible aid to the bereaved families, who have lost their near and dear ones as well as medical assistance to the injured”.

Deputy Commissioner Ramban took to his Twitter handle and informed that NH-44 was blocked in several areas due to mud slush and shooting stones and that people should avoid travelling until road clearance works were executed.

Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh has expressed concern over the damage caused due to rains. He has said that his office is constantly following up the matter for expeditious repair and redressal.

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