Weather Forecast Ignites Fear Of Flood Among Kashmiris

By Maria Syed

Srinagar, Apr 1: Ghulam Muhammad, father of three, hasn’t hit the bed for three days in a row. Reason: He lives dangerously close to a flood spill in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bemina – one of the worst affected areas in the deluge of September 2014.

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On Wednesday morning, when the downpour started in the valley, Muhammad’s worries increased manifold as the increase in the water level in the flood channel posed a direct threat to his one-storey house, he built two years ago after selling all the land he owned.

“I had some savings of past many years which I used to build this house,” said Muhammad. “This is all I have left now.”

Muhammad is not the sole person worried over the safety of his family and house. Dozens of houses in this locality – located 5 miles from city centre – were submerged when a breach in the spill opened floodgates to the waters.

The locals blame the administration for not doing enough to seal the susceptible portions of the embankment. The admin, on its part, asserts that they are trying to do their best.

 The water level in Jhelum and other major rivers has dropped below the danger mark, but the forecast from MeT department of a fresh spell of rain and snow has added to the worries of locals.

“The water level stood at 15:30 feet at Ram Munshi Bagh (Srinagar) and at 11.60 feet at Sangam (Anantnag) today (Wednesday) morning,” a senior official of the flood control department said today.

“Both these levels are much below the danger mark. We have, however, not lowered our guard and the flood alert continues to be in force in the Valley,” the official said.

The Met office has forecast moderate to heavy widespread rain in the state during the next three days.

“We are expecting moderate to heavy snow/rain in the state on April 2 and 3,” Sonam Lotus, director of the local MET office said here.

“I do not think this can result in any major flood problem because the Western Disturbance causing this spell of inclement weather would be weaker than the one that hit the state earlier. We have issued an advisory that both surface and air traffic can be disrupted during the next three days.”

18 people have been killed in the floods that hit the state on Sunday.

Sixteen members of two families were buried alive on Monday as landslide swept their homes in Laden village of Badgam district in central Kashmir.

Bodies of four women, a man and an infant, have so far been recovered from the debris and efforts are on to recover other bodies believed to be buried under it.

Two youth were washed away in swollen mountain streams in Udhampur district of Jammu region on Monday.

The authorities on Wednesday allowed one-way light vehicular traffic on the strategic Jammu-Srinagar road.

Traffic department officials said no vehicle would be allowed to move on the highway in the opposite direction on Wednesday.

Residents of flood prone Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar, Wazirbagh, Gogjibagh and other areas, who abandoned their homes on Sunday are yet to return to their homes.

Maria Syed is a journalism graduate in Kashmir.

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