3 washed away in flooded Tarnah, 2 children die in Billawar house collapse

24 rescued in Kathua after heavy floods in rivers, Nallahs

*Flash flood wreaks havoc in Surankote, many bikes, cars washed away

Gopal Sharma

JAMMU, July 31: Three persons were washed away in flooded Tarnah river along with tractor trolley near Dayala Chak while at least 24 persons were rescued in district Kathua, two children were killed in house collapse in Billawar area while heavy flash flood in Ujh and Basantar rivers and two Nallahs in Surankote caused extensive damage in Samba, Kathua and Poonch areas today whereas, due to massive rain in Bhaderwah and Doda, the water level in Chenab river increased, forcing administration to sound alert.

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Due to heavy rain during morning hours in Poonch area, the Jammu-Poonch highway was blocked after landslides near Kalai bridge during the day. However, the road was restored after four hours. But flash flood in two Nallahs in Surankote town after heavy rain late this evening caused extensive damage to the public property. Many bikes and cars were also washed away in the flood in the lanes and main road. The people with their children mounted on the roof tops to save their lives.
Reports from Kathua and Samba said that heavy rain during night and morning hours today caused massive flood in several Nallahs and rivers including Basantar, Bein, Tarnah and Ujh. The flood resulted into massive land erosion and also caused extensive damage to the standing crops and agriculture land in low lying areas of Raj Bagh, Gatti, Kote Punnu, Bobiya, Marheen, Hiranagar and Ramgarh.
During early morning hours, three persons including tractor trolley driver were washed away near Sallan village in Dayala Chak area of tehsil Hiranagar, after they were trapped in flash flood of Tarnah river while loading sand. The driver tried to run away along with the tractor trolley while the two labourers loading the trolley, mounted up. As the water level went on increasing, the tractor trolley got stuck in the middle of the flooded river and was washed away along with all the three. The mishap took place at around 6 am. Some people watching this from the river bank, raised alarm and later informed police at Hiranagar.
The police party led by SDPO Border, Pankaj Soodan and SDRF men started search for the missing persons and later, they recovered the dead body of one of them near Sanyal village in Chakra area, closer to Indo-Pak border. The body was then removed to SDH Hiranagar.
The deceased was identified as Ravi Kant alias Bablu (48), son of Jugal Kishore, resident of Sallan. Two persons washed away in the flood were later, identified as Rev Raj alias Deva (50), son of Naseeb Chand from Sallan and Tractor driver, Kamal Singh (58), son of Punjab Singh, resident of Patyari near Sallan in Hiranagar tehsil.
SSP Kathua, RC Kotwal said that police and SDRF launched massive search operation to trace the missing persons washed away in Tarnah, but they could not be found till late this evening. They are believed to have been washed away towards Pakistan. The BSF Commander of the sector, later commun icated a message to the Pak Rangers about washing away of two persons to that side.
He said at least 24 persons trapped in flash flood in Naaj river in Billawar Sub Division, Tarnah and Ujh in Kathua and Hiranagr areas were today rescued by SDRF and police. Five persons stuck in Naj river near Billawar were rescued during the day. They had gone for cremation. SDPO Billawar Arvind Kumar and SHO Sunil Kumar received distress calls and rushed to the site. All the five trapped persons were rescued.
At least 19 persons were rescued from Tarnah and Ujh areas by the police party led by SDPO Border Pankaj Soodan, with the help of SOG Kathua and SDRF men, Kotwal added.
Due to flash flood in various Nallahs, the movement of vehicles on Dalaya Chak-Dinga Amb and Chhallan road was disrupted for several hours today.
In Samba, the flash flood in Nallahs created havoc in low lying areas of the town. The flood water entered dozens of houses and damaged public property. The locals alleged that company constructing Flyover at Samba town showed carelessness and failed to properly manage flood water of two Nallahs coming from upside. This water flowed over the road and lanes and entered many houses and shops, causing damage to the properties of the people. Later, the people held strong protest against National Highway authorities.
Reports from Billawar said that a Kucha house of one Mashoor Ali, son of Vakil Din, resident of Koug, at present Pyal near Mudui village in Kishanpur, Billawar collapsed during this morning in which two children were buried alive. The minors’ bodies were later removed from the debris. The deceased were identified as Mohd Ishaq alias Shanu (5) and Razina (2 yrs), both children of Mashoor Ali. The children were sleeping in the room when mishap took place.
Two houses of Tabasum Ahmed at Baron village and Safeer Ahmed at Alal village in Thannamadi area of Rajouri collased today. Two horses were killed in the incident but no loss of human life was reported. However, extensive damage was caused to the household goods in the incident.
Reports from Poonch said that there was heavy rain in Surankote area for about two-three hours during late evening, after which flash flood in two major Nallahs near Bus Stand and Sub District Hospital caused flash flood. The water level went on increasing and it strated entering shops and houses. In some low lying areas like Iqbal Nagar and Hari Mohalla it caused extensive damage. The cars and bikes started washing away in the flood in the lanes and roads of the town. At least two dozen cars were said to have been damaged. House hold goods of the public also suffered heavy damage besides goods of the traders.
Deputy Commissioner, Poonch Inderjit said it was flash flood and not cloudburst as being projected by some people. He said it rained heavily for some time causing massive flash flood in two Nallahs and water flowed through lanes and roads causing damage to the public property. He said ADC, SDM and SDPO besides Tehsildar along with SDRF teams were monitoring the situation, however, no loss of life has been reported so far.
Meanwhile, district administration Doda issued an advisory on Sunday, asking people not to visit near Chenab river, it’s tributaries and other water bodies saying that due to continuous downpour water level in rivers and nullahs is flowing alarmingly above danger marks.
Report from Ramban area said that brief disruption in movement of traffic was witnessed on Jammu- Srinagar National Highway near Ramban today, however, it was restored shortly. Ramban-Sangaldan Gool Road was blocked near Kanga sliding zone, the traffic movement remained suspended for long. Later, the road was restored. But the road is sinking at this place, the sources added.
Report from Doda said incessant rains and flash floods wreaked havoc across all the three districts (Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban) of Chenab Region as several foot bridges were washed away including that of Afti in Warwan.
Meanwhile, District Magistrate Doda Vikas Sharma issued a fresh advisory after no respite from incessant rains since last 10 days and reports of increasing water levels in tributaries of Chenab including Neeru and Kalnai beside reports of mudslides and sinking of land from several areas.
The rain fury prompted district administration to issue advisory asking people not to venture near water bodies as well as asking commuters not to travel on Kishtwar- Batote, Bhadarwah – Basohli- Pathankot Highway beside Bhadarwah – Chamba interstate road and other interior roads as sudden cloudbursts have triggered flash floods and continuous mudslides at numerous spots beside sinking of roads at several places have also been reported.
“People are advised not to travel on any of the interior roads of the districts and highways without confirmation. Besides, they should also avoid to go near water bodies especially Chenab as water and it’s tributaries are flowing dangerously resulting in sudden sinking of land,” Vikas Sharma said.
Meanwhile, dozens of houses and structures in Kuthal area of Kahara, Gandoh and Chirala were damaged, some foot bridges washed away and scores of vehicles stuck on roads at various places of the region.  However, no loss of life has been reported from any part of the district.
Meanwhile, traffic movement was blocked after a landslide hit Jammu-Poonch highway under Border Roads Organisation (BRO) near Kalai area in Poonch.
At about 12 noon, the landslide hit road after which many vehicles remained stranded for few hours till the debris were cleared for single movement of vehicle at around 3.30 pm.
Officials said that soon after receiving the information of landslide, men and machinery were sent on spot to clear the road, beside a police team and Army personnel were also there, managing traffic system. They said that debris were cleared and the road was restored for traffic movement shortly.

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