India

Joint Need Assessment: Jammu and Kashmir Floods Preliminary Report

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  1. Disaster Overview

Heavy monsoon rains began on September 2, 2014 in Jammu and Kashmir region leading to heavy flooding. On September 3, a border security officer and five others were killed in landslides and flash floods triggered by heavy rain the Jammu region. The Jammu and Kashmir government sounded a flood alert for the state on September 4 after three days of incessant rain had flooded 23 villages. By September 6 the flooding was recognized as the worst in 50 years and the death toll had risen to 150. (September 11, reports claim that it is the worst flood in 109 years). Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Omar Abdulla, estimated on September 6 that 390 villages were inundated. The Prime Minister of India declared a national emergency on the 7th of September.

Heavy rainfall has caused 1) flash flooding with localized damage across the state, 2) landslides, which impacted on communities and road connectivity and 3) widespread flooding in the Kashmir Valley. Flood waters breached embankments in many low-lying areas in Kashmir, including the capital Srinagar, forcing people to move to safer places. The Jhelum River, Chenab and many other streams have been flowing above danger mark. The worst affected districts are Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramulla, Pulwama, Ganderbal, Kulgam, Budgam, Rajouri, Poonch and Reasi. To date (September 21), 280 human lives have been reported lost. Many people are still stranded in various parts of state. It has been reported that 450 villages, with an estimated rural population of 823, 281, were flooded, with farmlands being submerged. The Jhelum river has been flowing four feet above danger mark in Srinagar.

Links of valley to the rest of the country were restored after being cut off for more than a week. 300-kmlong national highway was closed to vehicular traffic from the 7th of September as a result of landslides and floods. As many as 60 major and minor roads have been cut off and over 30 bridges washed away, hampering the relief and rescue operations. Except for connectivity between Srinagar and north Kashmir's Ganderbal district, all other districts of the valley - including Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian, Badgam, Baramulla and Bandipora - were cut off. There are four major languages spoken in Jammu and Kashmir in affected areas. Kashmiri is spoken in the Kashmir Valley, Gojri, Pahari and related dialects in affected districts around Poonch, Dogri in the Jammu area, Punjabi, along the border with Pakistan.