India

ACT Alliance Alert: Kashmir Floods & Landslides

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1. Brief description of the emergency and impact

Seven months after unprecedented flooding in 2014, Jammu and Kashmir has again been lashed by heavy and incessant rains over the past 36 hours. There have been several landslides in Kashmir and people in many areas vulnerable to floods have been evacuated to safer places.

Eight National Disaster Response Force teams have been rushed to Kashmir along with armed forces and four helicopters in readiness for deployment at short notice after local authorities declared a flood situation in the valley. Civil administration and police are also telling people living along the banks of the River Jhelum to move to safer places. More than 320 families have already been moved to safer places in Kashmir valley as the water level in the river Jhelum is well above flood level. More than 200 structures including 176 houses have developed cracks due to land sinking in Shopian district of south Kashmir. Rainfall has eased somewhat in south Kashmir, however, according to the Meteorological Department heavy rainfall is likely to occur in the state over the next few days.

The heavy downpour also caused fresh landslides along the 294-km Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. The only all-weather road link between Kashmir and the rest of the country remained closed for the third day on Monday. Authorities have issued avalanche warnings for 7 districts of Kashmir division and advised people not to move around.

The Meteorological Department predicts another western disturbance which is likely to hit the state on 2 April and has advised authorities to observe mountain streams for any sudden rise that can cause local damage and trigger landslides. (Sphere India Sitrep, www.rediff.com (news), 31st March 2015)

2. Why is an ACT response needed?

ACT member Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) has been operational in the state for many years. CASA implemented a full scale relief and rehabilitation programme after the earthquake in 2005 and is well known by the communities and authorities.