At least five people were killed, and eight others remain missing, after they were swept away Wednesday morning in flash floods triggered by heavy rains in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
According to police sources, at least 20 people were swept away in a flooded ravine in Machiara village Pathika tehsil, around 40 kilometres from Muzaffarabad. However, seven of them were immediately rescued, with minor injuries.
Muzaffarabad police control room sources told The Express Tribune that the victims, all locals, were collecting firewood from the ravine, which overflowed its banks following heavy rains.
By nightfall, only five bodies were recovered from the ravine.
Two of the deceased were identified as Tahira Bibi and Mir Alam.“Rescue teams have been dispatched to assist villagers in recovering the rest of the bodies,” a police officer said on the condition of anonymity.
According to AFP, three people were killed, as officials said there was “no chance” for nine more swept away by the waters.
“We have recovered three bodies. Those who were swept away in the flood waters and are still missing include six men and three women,” Ansar Yaqoob, a senior government official, told AFP.
“The water level is still very high and has hampered the rescue operation. It seems that there is no chance for any survival,” he said.
Rain wreaks havoc
Meanwhile, the fresh wave of heavy rains wreaked havoc in various parts of AJK during the past 24 hours, damaging houses and sweeping away cattle heads in low-lying areas, eye witnesses said.
Floodwater, caused by the overflowing of a ravine, entered two hotels in Mirpur’s central Shaheed Chowk.
Hotel owners Raja Muhammad Younis and Chaudhry Zaffar Iqbal accused the local municipal authorities for failing to widen the ravine despite repeated complaints. When contacted, Mirpur Municipal Corporation Administrator Chaudhry Muhammad Mansha said rescue teams have been dispatched for quick disposal of stagnant rain water in low-lying areas.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2012.
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