Hopes fade as no trace of 19 people missing in Kishtwar cloudburst even on 7th day


By Bunty Mahajan

Kishtwar: The UT administration has started losing hope about 19 people who went missing following cloudburst at Hunzar in Dacchan area of Kishtwar district on the intervening night of July 27-28 as rescue teams of SDRF, NDRF, police and army have failed to locate them even on the 7th day of their continued rescue operation.

“SDM and ASP are there supervising rescue operations, but there is massive debris,’’ said a senior official in the Kishtwar district administration. “Whosoever could be rescued were rescued on the first day,’’ he said, adding “with each passing day, the chances of those still missing gets dimmer’’.

The operation to trace the missing people is going on and additional rescue teams of NDRF and SDRF equipped with sophisticated equipments inducted, he said, but there has been no clue of them,’’ the official said. It appears that they (missing ones) have got washed away by flash floods into river Chenab, he added.

Those missing include eight women in the age group of 22-60 years. They have been identified as Saja Begum, Khursheed Ahmed, Fida Hussain, Mohammad Sharief, Almina Tabassum. Mata Begum, Ghulam Mhammad, Fazal Hussain, Tariq Hussain, Zarina Begum, Fatima Begum, Bashir Ahmed, Sharifa Begum, Shakir Hussain, Ghulam Ahmed, Zubaida Bano and Khalid.

The village is a scene of wide spread devastation with damaged houses and massive silt and huge boulders spread over a vast area. Hundreds of agricultural land too has been damaged in the flash floods triggered by cloudburst, sources said.

A cloudburst hit remote Hunzar village on the intervening night of July 27-28 causing widespread devastation and loss of life. Seven bodies were recovered on the very first day and 17 others rescued in an injured condition including nearly half a dozen of them critically.  Apart from this, nearly a dozen residential houses, a ration depot and a bridge, besides large number of cattle sheds were damaged.

UT’s Lt Governor Manoj Sinha has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for the next of kin of each deceased killed in the Hunzar cloudburst. “The grievously injured would be given ₹50,000 each and ₹12,000 under State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) shall also be disbursed,” a statement issued by his office had said, adding that the Kishtwar deputy commissioner’s office would also provide relief amount from the SDRF for loss of houses, clothing, household items, livestock, cattle shed, agricultural land, and utensils to those affected in the disaster.

Meanwhile, police have started community kitchen for the cloudburst hit people at Hunzar.