In one of the deadliest monsoon-related incidents this year, at least 16 people lost their lives and several were injured in a cloudburst near the Amarnath cave in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday. However, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has now said that the incident may have occurred due to a highly localised rain event and not a cloudburst, news agency PTI reported.
Rescue operations going on
More than 15,000 people have been rescued so far, and the injured persons are being airlifted for treatment. Army choppers are shifting the injured devotees to a makeshift hospital in Baltal base camp, who will then be moved to Srinagar for further treatment. The initial transportation to Baltal is happening as the IMD has predicted fresh flash floods.
IAF in a tweet shared, “Mi17 V5 & Cheetal helicopters are operating near the site to airlift the mortal remains of casualties, injured persons, NDRF personnel & relief load since this morning.”
Operating in inclement weather & in an effort which continued throughout the day, eight Cheetal & MI 17 V5 helicopters of #IAF airlifted over 13 Tons of relief load & evacuated 109 injured pilgrims from the site affected by the cloud burst. pic.twitter.com/DwEPgsu3cc
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) July 9, 2022
At least 16 people were killed as tents and community kitchens near the cave shrine were swamped with mud and rocks that came hurtling down with a gush of water after a spell of rain.
The NDRF has sent three teams comprising about 75 rescuers. Officials said around 15,000 pilgrims had been moved to Panchtarni, which serves as the rest camp for yatris before they start the last leg of the pilgrimage.
J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha chaired a high-level meeting to review the rescue and relief operations, attended by top officials from the Army, police, Air Force and civil administration. Sinha urged the yatris to stay put in camps. “The administration is providing all the facilities for their comfortable stay. We are trying our best to restore the Yatra at the earliest,” he said.