The flood situation in Jammu and Kashmir continued to worsen today with the death toll mounting to 107 while rescuers struggled to evacuate thousands of people to safety as major rivers and streams were in spate due to incessant rains.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh said 8 teams of the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) are operating in flood affected Jammu and Kashmir for carrying out rescue and relief operations.
Rajnath Singh and J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah reviewed the prevailing flood situation in Jammu and Kashmir at a high level meeting in Srinagar and took stock of the rescue and relief measures put in place to provide necessary succor to the flood-hit population.
He said as many as 25,000 villages have been affected and over 450 villages have been submerged besides 107 people have lost their lives in flash flood so far.
Addressing a press conference here at Jammu, the home minister described the situation in many sectors as critical and assured the state government of all help from the centre. The prime minister has announced Rs2 lakh as ex-gratia relief to the next of kin of the dead and Rs50, 000 to the injured.
In Jammu region, 11 more deaths were reported today, including seven in two house collapse incidents in Udhampur.
Four more bodies were recovered from Thursday's bus mishap in which 63 members of a marriage party were washed away in Rajouri district, SSP Rajouri Mubasir Latiffe said, adding a total of 29 bodies have been recovered so far.
At least nine Army personnel, including an officer, were today trapped in a strong water current as their boat capsized during a rescue operation in Pulwama district, where the River Jhelum has breached its embankment, prompting authorities to issue a red alert for people living in low lying areas of south Srinagar.
''We have launched an operation to rescue the missing personnel,'' an army official said, adding, ''Despite facing dangers to personal safety, the army personnel are out there to provide relief to the civilian population of Kashmir.''
With today's deaths, a total of 107 people have died in the state hit by floods and landslides due to incessant rains since Wednesday.
In Jammu, authorities have closed four bridges connecting two parts of city after they suffered damage due to River Tawi flowing above the danger mark.
''The situation is very bad. It is becoming more critical as rains have not stopped, making the rescue and relief operation difficult,'' officials said.
As many as 7,000 people were rescued in various areas in Jammu by teams of the Army and IAF, with 85 columns (75-100 personnel each) of troops and Air Force helicopters taking part in the operations in the state.
Several rivers have been flowing above the danger mark and most parts of south Kashmir, including Pulwama, Anantnag and Kulgam districts are submerged.
''Operation Megh Rahat in Jammu and Operation Sahayata launched by Army in Jammu and Kashmir regions has moved on to the next phase where the Army plans extensive deployment in support of flood relief,'' defence spokesman Col S D Goswami said.
The commissioner secretary, revenue and relief, J&K government, Vinod Koul, said as many as 83 people are reported to have died in the devastating flood. He said that 390 villages have been submerged in the valley while 1,225 are partially affected. He said in Jammu division 1,000 villages have been affected by the flood waters.