Wednesday, June 29News That Matters

Frantic search for 20 missing in cloudburst

Jammu, July 29

Frantic rescue operations were underway on Thursday to trace 20 persons missing after a cloudburst hit Honzar village in Kishtwar district with authorities pressing more teams into action.

Seven persons were found dead and 17 others were rescued in an injured condition after the remote village was struck by the cloudburst in the early hours of Wednesday, damaging 21 houses, cow sheds, a ration depot, a bridge and a mosque.

Officials said the joint rescue operation by the police, Army and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) is going on in full swing to locate the missing people, including nine women.

VK Singh, DGP-cum-Commandant General, Home Guard, Civil Defence and SDRF, said a team comprising SDRF and NDRF personnel left Jammu at 5:45 am by road for Kishtwar, while another joint team is leaving Srinagar shortly to join the rescue operation. Two more teams comprising SDRF and NDRF personnel are at the Jammu and Srinagar airports waiting for the weather to improve to get airlifted, he said. He said three teams of the SDRF had already joined the rescue effort and efforts were on to locate the missing persons.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) made an attempt to airlift one of the teams on Wednesday but returned to the Jammu airport due to inclement weather.

ADGP Jammu zone, Mukesh Singh rushed to Kishtwar by road on Wednesday night and visited the injured at district hospital, a police official said.

The UT government had announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for the next of kin of those who lost their lives in the incident and Rs 50,000 each and Rs 12,700 under the SDRF to the grievously injured persons. Sonum Lotus, Director, Meteorological Department, said no major rain occurred during the night across Jamp;K. — PTI

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