Seven people have died and 19 are missing, following a cloudburst in the early hours of Wednesday, in a remote village of Jammu and Kashmir's Kishtwar.
Meanwhile, even though 17 people have been rescued so far, five of them are critically injured, Doda DIG Udayabhaskar Billa informed ANI.
The DIG also reportedly said: "Nine people are still missing. Rescue teams (are) putting in all efforts to reach timely, but delays happening due to unsuitable weather conditions."
The government of J&K has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for the next of kin of those who lost their lives in the cloudburst. Meanwhile, those grievously injured will be given Rs 50,000 each and Rs 12,700 under SDRF shall also be disbursed, the J&K Lt Governor's Office said on Wednesday.
Praying for everyone’s safety, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet, "Central government is closely monitoring the situation in the wake of the cloudbursts in Kishtwar and Kargil. All possible assistance is being made available in the affected areas."
Further, as per PTI, officials have informed that rescue teams have been rushed to Honzar village of Dacchan tehsil and more details are awaited. A joint rescue operation by police, army and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) is underway.
A total of 17 people have been rescued so far, IGP Jammu informed and said, "Five more persons who are critically injured have been rescued," news agency ANI reported.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted: "Our priority is to save as many lives as possible."
Most of Jammu region has been inundated with heavy rains for the past few days. Expecting more rains till July-end, authorities in Kishtwar have asked those living along water bodies and slide-prone areas to stay vigilant, reported PTI.
Rise in Water Level of Chenab
Ramban Deputy Commissioner was quoted as saying, "There has been a rise in the water level of river Chenab in the Ramban district. People are advised not to venture out anywhere near the riverbanks."
Meanwhile, NHPC Limited, a government hydropower board, also issued a warning saying, "Waterlevel in Chenab river may rise due to cloudburst at 50 km upstream of Kiru in Kishtwar district. Due to this, emergent flushing from Salal reservoir may be done at any time. People are advised to not go near riverbanks," ANI reported.
What Authorities Said Late Tuesday Night
In an advisory that was reportedly issued late on Tuesday night, the district administration had said:
"The meteorological department has predicted heavy rains during the upcoming days and water levels in rivers and nallas are expected to rise, which can pose a threat to the inhabitants residing near rivers, nallas, water bodies and slide-prone areas."
7 Reported Deaths
As per PTI, a senior official has informed that five bodies were recovered after some houses were swept away by flash floods triggered by the cloud-burst.
Director General of Police-cum-Commandant General Home Guard, Civil Defence and SDRF, V K Singh further informed PTI that two women of the five deceased are women.
Later, the District Development Commissioner informed that the death toll has risen to seven.
Extent of Damage
Further, PTI quoted VK Singh as saying that a total of six houses were swept away. Meanwhile, as per prior reports, at least eight or nine houses have also reportedly been damaged.
A ration store had also suffered damage.
District Development Commissioner, Kishtwar, Ashok Kumar Sharma told PTI: "There is some damage to infrastructure but exact details are awaited."
Officials have informed that a joint rescue operation by police, army and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) is underway. VK Singh reportedly told PTI:
"One of our SDRF teams from Kishtwar reached the affected village and two more teams are on their way from Doda and Udhampur districts. Two more SDRF teams are waiting for the weather to improve to get airlifted from Jammu and Srinagar to the scene and join the rescue mission."
Singh was also subsequently quoted by ANI as saying that the SDRF team with the police have left for the spot on foot.
"The area is in upper reaches of Kishtwar, not accessible by road. Jammu SDRF is on standby. Weather is inclement. One team of SDRF from Srinagar is ready to be airlifted."SDRF Commandant General V K Singh
Meanwhile, ANI quoted J&K Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Manoj Sinha as saying that he has spoken to senior authorities and Kishtwar district administration.
“Army and SDRF team working on war footing to rescue people and trace the missing persons. I am continuously monitoring the situation,” the L-G further added.
Moreover, PRO (Defence) Jammu informed that two Indian Army Columns have mobilised to assist civil administration in rescue operations in Kishtwar district.
He added, "First column mobilised early morning. Second Army column reaching shortly. One SDRF column ready to be airlifted from Jammu."
'Distressed': Mehbooba, Omar React
Former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah have expressed distress at the news of the cloudburst and mourned the deceased.
Flash Floods in Himachal Pradesh
At least nine people were killed and seven are still missing following flash floods at two places in Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday.
Two out of the nine dead people were killed in Chamba district. Four others died in Kullu, including a Delhi tourist, after they drowned in the swollen Parvati river in Manikaran.
Two tents of labourers and a private JCB have been washed away, PTI quoted state disaster management director Sudesh Kumar Mokhta as saying on Wednesday.
Further, as per the official, the state police and the ITBP teams were dispatched for the search of the missing people. However, excess of water reportedly hampered the search operation on Tuesday night and the search operation was deferred to Wednesday morning.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)
(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)