Relentless rain and flash floods have wreaked havoc in Jammu and Kashmir, killing at least 20 people since Wednesday and triggering fears that scores more may have perished in a bus washed away by a surge.
A BSF inspector and an army sepoy, who was part of a relief effort, were among the 20 victims confirmed dead by deputy chief minister Tara Chand. A dozen of the deaths occurred in Jammu, the rest in Kashmir.
But attention remained focused on the bus washed away in Jammu’s Rajouri. Conflicting accounts emerged over how many people were in the vehicle, which was carrying a marriage party. A defence spokesperson said it had 50 passengers, while additional deputy commissioner Mohammad Salim Malik put the number at 60-70.
“The bus lies submerged in a stream, which has turned into a river. We haven’t been able to rescue any person,” Malik said.
BSF inspector Mohammad Rasheed died after his post on the LoC was hit by a landslide in Jammu’s Poonch, where a bridge (in picture above) collapsed because of the floods. Balbir, the army sepoy, was killed while rescuing residents.
Key rivers Jhelum and Chenab were flowing above the danger mark. In Srinagar, water entered the ground floors of houses in several areas, forcing the residents to shift to upper stories. Chief minister Omar Abdullah’s convoy driving through a submerged street in Srinagar (picture on top). The Met office said the downpour would continue till Saturday.