Jammu, July 19: At least five persons died in separate incidents of landslides after heavy rainfall wreaked havoc in Kathua district on Wednesday, while schools in Kishtwar, Doda, Rajouri and hilly belt of Kathua district have been closed.
The authorities have also temporarily suspended Yatra to Vaishno Devi and Amarnath Shrines due to inclement weather.
An official told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that 5 persons were feared dead after two residential houses collapsed due to heavy rainfall in Bani area of Kathua district.
“Two houses belonging to Mushtaq Ahmed and Abdul Qayum collapsed in Surjan Morha Aruad Block in Bani due to heavy rainfall. Five persons including children got buried under these houses,” said Station House officer of Bani Police Station.
He said that bodies two person who have been identified as Tabseem Bano and Mohammad Arif have been recovered, while rescue operation was under way to retrieve other three including Zareen Begum, Sahabaz and Arbaz.
Senior Superintendent of Police Kathua Shivdeep Singh Jamwal also confirmed the incident and said that a massive rescue operation was underway.
Meanwhile, in a separate incident a woman identified as Naseema Begum wife of Mohammad Rafiq of Mandhota Tehsil Bani died after coming under a landslide in the Bani area of the district.
In another incident, a class 7th student identified as Ajay Singh son of Late Mohinder Singh of Sitti Tehsil was buried under a landslide in Bani, while, one person namely Sham Lal son of Tara Chand of Bani also got buried under a landslide and later his body was also retrieved.
Sub-Divisional Magistrate Bani Satish Kumar said that there are reports of flash floods and landslides in other areas and rescue teams have been deputed.
He also announced a compensation of Rs 50,000 for the deceased and Rs 25,000 for the injured.
Meanwhile, rains lashed various parts of Jammu damaging roads with all major rivers including Tawi, Chenab, Basanter, Devak and Ujj flowing above the danger mark.
Officials said that new track to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine has been closed due to inclement weather conditions while chopper service has also been suspended in Reasi district, while schools in Kishtwar, Doda, Rajouri and upper reaches of Kathua have also been closed in view of inclement weather.
They said that 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.
Meanwhile, Jammu-Pathankot road in Kathua was also closed in view of the flood-like situation in Tarnah Nullah and a bridge on the Tarnah Nallah has suffered damage due to heavy rains. The traffic is presently being diverted through the border road.
Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh, who is also Member of Parliament from Udhampur Kathua constituency, expressed concern over the damage caused due to rains.
“Concerned to learn about the damage caused to Chadwal bridge in Kathua due to flash floods, causing inconvenience to traffic. I have immediately got in touch with DC Kathua, Rakesh Minhas as well as the NHAI authorities. My office is constantly following up the matter for expeditious repair and redressal,” he tweeted—(KNO)