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To tide over drought crisis, Centre approves relief for MP, Maharashtra

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Chennai floods: Here are some tips for volunteers working on the ground

The energy and positivity have been infectious and this is spurring a lot more people down the volunteering route.

A boat evacuates stranded passengers in Chennai

AFP
Chennai stands tall on the shoulders of volunteers who have and continue to do selfless work in helping with rescue, relief and now rehabilitation efforts in these trying times. Several of them are first-time volunteers and also those who have been rescued from the floods themselves. The energy and positivity have been infectious and this is spurring a lot more people down the volunteering route. Here is a list of things to remember if you are volunteering:1. Volunteering for a natural disaster is very different from volunteering at an NGO. First-time volunteers must be open to taking instructions from relief centre managers or other experienced coordinators. Do not deviate from routes, plans and distribution instructions. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Volunteers are requested not to display or disburse supplies if relief work is already in progress in an affected area. This could lead to pandemonium and a stampede, since it creates a perception of perceived shortage. There have been several reports of mobbing and theft of relief material. 3. Safety in numbers is essential for volunteers. It is recommended that volunteers travel in groups so that help is at hand if the situation demands so. Simple logistical issues of organising crowds, relaying information, any support in case of untoward incidents, are all easier when done in groups.4. A special note of caution for women. Sadly, they also need to take shelter in larger groups since there have been isolated incidents of drunk men misbehaving with women volunteers.5. When volunteers reach flood-affected areas, they are to cooperate with local police, NDRF and defence personnel on the ground. It would be tempting for volunteers to get on boats and hand out relief materials themselves, but refrain from doing so without instructions. The last thing we want is for volunteers to get stranded and take bandwidth away from rescue operations.6. Volunteers, especially those engaged in food preparation and distribution must have hand sanitizers handy for regular disinfection. Masks and gloves for all volunteers would go a long way in curbing infections. 7. Volunteers engaged in on-field work must ensure that their legs and feet are fully covered. Those who have been exposed to standing in stagnating water or cuts and bruises must take tetanus shots. These must be taken within 48 hours of exposure. The author is HR professional and has been working with her family in relief efforts in Chennai over the last few days.

Even as water levels recede in Chennai, worst-affected areas are still suffering

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Chennai floods: Aerial sorties for rescue ops called off as city limps back to normalcy

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Watch: After the deluge, residents have no electricity, drinking water is scarce, filth abounds and prices are surging

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Chennai Floods: Here’s a list of trains that have resumed from Chennai Central station today

The train schedules are expected to return to normal from tomorrow.

Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra Andaman express left from Chennai Central on Sunday morning

ANI
In a massive relief for stranded passengers, train services have been resumed from the Chennai Central station here and the schedules are expected to return to normal from tomorrow.The station, which had halted its services due to torrential rains and massive waterlogging, still looked empty as only few trains are scheduled for today.The first train of the day, Chennai Central- Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra Andaman express left Chennai Central at 5:15 am.Train No.12007 Chennai Central – Mysore Shatabdi express also left as scheduled.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The following regular train services will be operated from Chennai Central railway station from today onwards.1. Train No.16031 Chennai Central – Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra Andaman express scheduled to leave Chennai Central at 05.15 hrs. 2. Train No.12007 Chennai Central – Mysore Shatabdi express scheduled to leave Chennai Central at 06.00 hrs. 3. Train No.12077 Chennai Central – Vijayawada Jan Shatabdi express scheduled to leave Chennai Central at 07.35 hrs. 4. Train No.12639 Chennai Central – Bangalore Brindavan express scheduled to leave Chennai Central at 07.50 hrs. 5. Train No.12842 Chennai Central – Howrah Coromandal express scheduled to leave Chennai Central at 08.45 hrs. 6. Train No.16003 Chennai Central – Nagarsol express scheduled to leave Chennai Central at 09.15 hrs. 7. Train No.12615 Chennai Central – New Delhi Grand Trunk express scheduled to leave Chennai Central at 19.15 hrs. 8. Train No.16021 Chennai Central – Mysore Kaveri express scheduled to leave Chennai Central at 21.00 hrs. 9. Train No.12671 Chennai Central – Coimbatore / Mettupalayam Nilagiri express scheduled to leave Chennai Central at 21.15 hrs. 10. Train No.12621 Chennai Central – New Delhi Tamil Nadu express scheduled to leave Chennai Central at 22.00 hrs.Chennai Airport is expected to resume its commercial flight services from today as well as the DGCA has cleared passenger flights to function.Meanwhile, rescue and relief operations are in full swing as the Army, Navy and the NDRF are working consistently to provide the stranded people with medicines and amenities while also evacuating them to safer locations.

Chennai floods: Not everyone helped, rescued students recount horrific experiences

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Chennai floods: Railways to run special trains to help stranded passengers

However, trains continued to be cancelled in large numbers and tracks remain submerged in many places.

PTI
With the waters receding slowly in some areas in Tamil Nadu, the Railways have increased their deployment to rescue stranded people, with around 10 to 20 special trains running everyday, evacuating people in large numbers.”The water has receded in some areas in Chennai and we are repairing the damages in tracks and bridges. We are using more of the special trains and are planning a massive deployment. We ran 22 special trains yesterday and have planned 10 special trains today. Additional coaches are on standby for the specials,” Railways Public Relations Officer Anil Saxena told ANI. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, trains continued to be cancelled in large numbers and tracks remain submerged in many places.”Even though the special trains are doing well, we hope that by evening we can restore long distance trains. Chennai Central still remains waterlogged, which is making things difficult. Around 130 trains had to be cancelled today and we have cancelled around 500 trains till now,” Saxena added. Around 66,000 people have been rescued through the special trains and food, drinking water and medicines are also being distributed in large number, while railway engineers and technicians are working hard to normalise the situation and provide rescue and relief to stranded passengers, he added. Meanwhile, in a positive note for stranded passengers, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said that commercial flights are expected to begin their services after December 6, once power is restored in the airport.”We started technical flights yesterday, but resuming commercial flights services will take time as the airport basement remains flooded and there is no power supply. We expect commercial flight services to resume after December 6,” Sharma told ANI.With the torrential rains having slowed down to light showers, rescue ops and relief works have intensified as the NDRF and the Navy are taking advantage of the situation to help the stranded people.

Chennai floods: Commercial flight services likely to begin after December 6

Four flights had carted around 319 stranded passengers back home yesterday.

Several parts of the city are still inundated

PTI
In a positive note for stranded passengers amid the floods in Chennai, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma on Saturday said that commercial flights are expected to begin their services after December 6, once power is restored in the airport. “We started technical flights yesterday, but resuming commercial flights services will take time as the airport basement remains flooded and there is no power supply. We expect commercial flight services to resume after December 6,” Sharma told ANI. He added that four flights, including those of Air India will resume today and that four flights had carted around 319 stranded passengers back home yesterday. “Once power supply is restored and water evacuation happens, we can restart commercial flight services,” Sharma added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, with the torrential rains having slowed down to light showers, rescue ops and relief works have intensified as the NDRF and the Navy are taking advantage of the situation to help the stranded people.

Chennai rains: Private carriers run rescue flights to Delhi, Bangalore

The Delhi-bound IndiGo flight (No 8002) landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport at its domestic terminal early tonight.

Private airlines have also joined the rescue operations in rain-battered Chennai, with some of the carriers on Friday flying out hundreds of people from here to Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore. “Some of the private airlines have started running a few relief flights from here to Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore. One such flight flew about 130 rescued civilians to Delhi this afternoon,” a defence official here said. “While two flights flew in the morning to Hyderabad and Bangalore routes, one came in the afternoon and another at night,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi-bound IndiGo flight (No 8002) landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport at its domestic terminal early tonight. Arakkonam Naval Base or INS Rajali is about 70 kms west of Chennai, and is currently being used as a makeshift airport due to closure of the Chennai Airport. Private airlines today made their makeshift counters here, near the tarmac, to facilitate ferrying of people. As per the schedule of civil flights from here, a copy of which is available with PTI, seven such sorties have been listed in it, including the Delhi-bound IndiGo flight.”A TrueJet flight and a SpiceJet flight left for Hyderabad and Bangalore respectively this morning, before the Delhi-bound IndiGo one, which left at in the afternoon. Two Air India, another IndiGo and SpiceJet flights are also scheduled,” he added. The Delhi-bound IndiGo left Arrakonam at about 2:20 PM and flew to Delhi via Bangalore, where it stopped over for refueling and also picked up a few commercial passengers as the seats were left empty. “An 180-seater aircraft took the rescued people and a few defence officials from Arrakonam. At Bangalore about 30 passengers boarded the flight,” a member of the air crew onboard the IndiGo’s Flight No 8002 said.”While another IndiGo flight is on the schedule, the last update I had was that they are not able to get adequate number of passengers for it. However, some of our staff are there, so they have to get back, so I believe it will fly anyway, but no confirmation as such on it,” she added.About 130 rescued citizens and an old French couple flew in this aircraft which reached Delhi at about 7 PM, with passengers letting out a loud cheer as the plane touched down in the national capital. The rescued people, which included about 70 university students were said to be flown in a C-17 Globemaster, but sources said, it couldn’t do it for lack of adequate passengers. However, defence officials did not conform if that was the original plan. A C-17 had carried over 100 people to Hyderabad yesterday.21-year-old Dehradun-native Kopal Gupta, who was onboard the Delhi-bound flight said, “I was so excited at the prospect of travelling in a C-17, but it came as a surprise, this civil flight. Though, I thank the private airlines for carrying us out of here in times of distress.” The C-17 was seen parked at the Base here, and a source said that it was being used to ferry teams of NDRF for the rescue operations.

‘Lucky to be alive’ in Chennai

The BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder witnesses the chaos and the loss in India’s fourth-largest city Chennai after huge flooding.

Chennai floods: How NDRF is using social media to reach out to people

The Excel-sheet helps the officers on the ground to send the SoS requests to the working teams which are tasked with the area and zone-wise rescue operations, the official added.

Reprsentational Image

Deployed in rescue and relief operations in flood-hit Chennai, NDRF personnel are using social media and the internet to reach out to those in distress with a desk here working 24/7 to ensure that the affected people receive help. A small office desk at the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) headquarters here has picked up over 1,000 strands of vital information on social media and internet and is posting responses to those requesting help. The Information Technology wing of the force, which is being manned round-the-clock by a posse of over a dozen NDRF personnel, is posting assurances to every SoS call made online in the wake of the flood crisis in the southern metropolis.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thus, the force is responding with messages like ‘noted’, ‘we will do the needful’, ‘will do our best possible’, ‘noted and passed to field teams’ and ‘pls provide full address’ to calls for help by Chennai dwellers. NDRF chief OP Singh is getting hourly updates on his personal mobile phone about the social media response of the force and has also instructed the team to ensure that “each and every” tweet, email, Whatsapp message, SMS or phone call is acknowledged. “We have been getting these messages for the last three- four days… initially, we used to pick the information and send it across to our field units in Chennai and Arakkonam for immediate action, but I thought we need to personally assure the people who either seek help themselves or on behalf of their family or friends.”Half the battle is won when our official twitter handle or email says ‘noted’, which is an assurance to say that we are working on the distress call. The person on the other side feels he or she is being heard and cared for,” Singh told PTI before taking a special flight to the southern state for a review of the situation there. The 12,000-strong force, at the latest count, had received and responded to 339 tweets on its official handle ‘@NDRFHQ’ or through ‘#NDRF’ along with 501 emails, 613 phone calls and 13 messages on Whatsapp. A further 200 such messages are being replied to, it was learnt. “We pick up information from all social media avenues and immediately send it to our field teams, manned by two DIG rank officers in Tamil Nadu, in an Excel sheet format via the V-SAT system activated exclusively for these tasks,” a senior NDRF official said.The Excel-sheet helps the officers on the ground to send the SoS requests to the working teams which are tasked with the area and zone-wise rescue operations, the official added. The calls received on the two helpline numbers — 011-24363260, 09711077372 — are routed to the NDRF On-Site Emergency Operation Coordination Centre (OSOCC) at Kilpauk in Chennai via satellite phone updates, said its Information Technology wing head and Assistant Commandant, Krishan Kumar.Meanwhile, through its twitter handle, the force is also uploading pictures of the operation that is currently underway in the Tamil Nadu state capital. NDRF has also created a smart, SMS-based system to regularly update all field commanders, senior officials and authorities in the Union Home Ministry and send regular notifications regarding requirements during such long-haul counter-disaster operations.

Chennai floods: NDRF intensifies relief ops, adds 20 more teams

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No lessons learnt about handling disasters by government or planners

Moreover, the prime minister Narendra Modi recently, a year after, announced a package of Rs7,854 crore for reconstruction and flood management for Jammu and Kashmir, environmentalists are surprised that even after such a large-scale devastation, no ban has been imposed on constructions in low-lying areas.

An aerial view of the submerged Chennai airport on Wednesday

Reuters
Whether it’s 2013 Uttarakhand flash floods or 2014 Srinagar deluge, no lessons are learnt from disasters, either by the government or by the planners. Not only the large amount is allocated to the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the stellar force, pressed for rescuing victims remains unspent, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), a body mandated to ensure responses to disasters, remains headless for over a year now. Moreover, the prime minister Narendra Modi recently, a year after, announced a package of Rs7,854 crore for reconstruction and flood management for Jammu and Kashmir, environmentalists are surprised that even after such a large-scale devastation, no ban has been imposed on constructions in low-lying areas. A similar situation exists in the Uttrakhand as well.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Experts had hoped changes in land use policy, building structures and city expansion. “But nothing has changed. People are still engaged in constructions near Jhelum and encroaching its embankments. Even government appears at peace with this dangerous status quo,” a state government officer told dna. A year later, there are no plans to de-silt river Jhelum. Almost 5,334 million tonnes of soil gets deposited in water bodies annually and yet the massive dredging still awaits a nod. While major breaches have been restored, some 70 of them still need restoration. A similar indifference is marked at the central level as well. In 2014-15, the NDRF was allocated Rs200 crore. However, the force was unable to spend so, the revised estimates were reduced to Rs50 crore. The actual expenditure at the end of year turned to a meager Rs7.11 crore. Despite of this, in 2015-16, insiders say, there was little to use this amount for developing both residential as well as office accommodation and training infrastructure at the battalions. The force has submitted a proposal of Rs2,000 crore, an MHA officer told the Parliamentary Standing Committee. Eight out of ten battalions of NDRF (each NDRF battalion consists of 1,149 personnel) deployed across the country have no permanent buildings and facilities for its men. Only two battalions posses permanent structures which exist at Mundali, Odisha and Pune. The rest eight — Guwahati, Kolkata, Patna, Ghaziabad, Vadodara, Bhatinda, Vijaywada and Arakonam — are operating out of makeshift structures and tents. The NDMA, an apex body under disaster management act, constituted in September 2006, has no vice-chairman, over the past 18 months. “The country can ill afford indecisiveness at apex level in matter of disaster management,” says Congress spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Rajiv Gowda. The NDMA, chaired by prime minister has just three members, Dr DN Sharma, Kamal Kishore and Lt Gen NC Marwah.

Chennai floods: PM Modi announces Rs 1,000 crore relief, TN CM Jayalalithaa demands addl Rs 5000 crore

An official release said the Chief Minister requested for an immediate “on account” release of Rs 5000 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an immediate “on account” release of Rs 5000 crore for flood relief works during a meeting between the two here. Jayalalithaa made the demand after Modi and she carried out an aerial survey of Chennai, Kanchipuram, Thiruvallur and Cuddalore districts that have borne the brunt of the unprecedented rains in the last few days.An official release said the Chief Minister requested for an immediate “on account” release of Rs 5000 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund. The Prime Minister responded with an announcement of an immediate release of Rs 1000 crore from the NDRF. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Chennai floods: NDRF to rush about 600 personnel to the city

The force has also activated two helpline numbers at its control room here–011-24363260, 09711077372.

The NDRF is rushing about 600 personnel and over 40 inflatable boats to be deployed in relief and rescue operations in rain-battered Chennai. As the Chennai airport and nearby landing facilities are shut down, 15 teams airlifted from Bhubaneswar and Delhi by the IAF, will be landing at the ‘INS Rajali’ airbase in Arakkonam, about 60 km west of Chennai, National Disaster Response Force chief OP Singh. The teams will be fanning out immediately to various places in Chennai on the instructions of local authorities even as the force has stationed two DIG Rank officers and a Commanding Officer to over see these operations, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singh said the teams will be also be carrying some relief material with them so that people who cannot be evacuated could be replenished with essential items. The nearest NDRF unit at Arakkonam has been put on alert and if required more teams will be pressed in from here, he said. The force has also activated two helpline numbers at its control room here–011-24363260, 09711077372.He added about 11 teams, comprising 40 personnel in each, are already working in the Chennai region for relief and rescue operations.

Six killed in rain-related incidents in Andhra Pradesh

Naidu said two National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) helicopters from Chennai have arrived in Chittoor and Nellore districts to rescue people stranded in flood waters.

Naidu said two National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) helicopters from Chennai have arrived in Chittoor and Nellore districts to rescue people stranded in flood waters. (Representational Image)

File Photo
Six persons were killed in rain-related incidents in Andhra Pradesh as heavy rains triggered by north east monsoon continued to lash several districts in the state. “Six persons have died due to rain related incidents in many districts and an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of the victims is being announced. About 15,000 people were shifted to relief camps from the affected areas,” Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said. In a tele-conference held to take stock of the incessant rains in the state, Naidu directed the officials to remain alert for the next 48 hours.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I have asked officials of Nellore, Kadapa and Chittoor districts to be vigilant for the next 48 hours,” he said here.He told the officials to complete the relief, restoration and rehabilitation works, including restoration of electricity, on a war-footing. The Chief Minister directed the officials to distribute 20 kg rice and two litres kerosene to the flood victims within a day. Naidu said two National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) helicopters from Chennai have arrived in Chittoor and Nellore districts to rescue people stranded in flood waters. He also appealed social organisations and political parties to voluntarily take up relief activities for the affected in these 3 districts. Naidu announced compensation for completely and partially damaged houses. “As per primary investigations, crops in about 3,155 hectares (of land) were damaged. Two helicopters have been pressed into service in Nellore and 5 helicopters kept standby to meet any kind of emergency,” he said.

Jayalalithaa announces Rs 500 crore for flood relief, rehabilitation

Chennai: With Tamil Nadu hit by monsoon fury causing flood and inundation, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Monday announced allocation of Rs 500 crore towards relief and rehabilitation.

The Army’s help has been sought to rescue stranded people at nearby Tambaram, she said.

J Jayalalithaa. AFPJ Jayalalithaa. AFP

J Jayalalithaa. AFP

“I have allocated Rs 500 crore towards relief and rehabilitation with immediate effect,” she said.

Jayalalithaa said that besides spending for relief and rehabilitation, the allocation would also be used for disbursement of solatium to affected people.

As many as 71 deaths have been reported in various rain-related incidents, including electrocution and drowning.

Jayalalithaa had last week announced enhanching compensation to families of those killed in rain-related incidents from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs four lakh, besides relief for injured and death of cattle and poultry.

In a statement, the CM said she had directed officials to further expedite relief and rehabilitaion measures in the wake of the government announcing the Rs 500 crore relief package.

Detailing the government’s initiatives in the affected districts, especially the worst-affected Cuddalore, she said power supply had been restored in 671 of 683 affected rural body areas. Besides 40 medical camps were functioning.

As many as 121 camps had been held to cater to cattle while fodder for animals was being given free of cost.

In 70 relief camps, 58,000 food packets were being distributed, she said.

At Chennai, of the 587 areas, water has been removed in 207 locations and Corporation of Chennai workers were involved in clearing water in the rest of the places.

Most subways, except for six, had been cleared of water and vehicular movement restored, she said, adding uprooted trees were being removed on a war footing.

The government was implementing relief and rehabilitation measures on a war-footing in neighbouring Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram areas, she said.

As regards Kancheepuram district, also severely affected, a 160-member NDRF team, three from the State Disaster Response Force, were assisting the district administration.

PTI

Bilaspur tunnel collapse: Two workers rescued after nine days

The flawless rescue operation by the men of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) came a day after incessant rains lashed the mishap site and a snag developed in the heavy rig that was drilling through to rescue the trapped.

Bilaspur: Satish Tomar (R) and Mani Ram, the two tunnel workers who were trapped for nine days inside an under-construction tunnel, wave at the crowd after being brought out by the NDRF team in Bilaspur on Monday.

PTI
Trapped for nine days, two workers were on Monday safely pulled out of the rubble of a partially collapsed under-construction tunnel in Himachal Pradesh by rescue teams ending their ordeal amid scenes of jubilation.Search operations continued for the third worker who is still suspected stuck under the debris of the collapsed tunnel in Bilaspur, about 90 km from here. Surviving the ordeal, the rescued workers identified as Mani Ram and Satish Tomar were in good health, according to NDRF officials. TV visuals showed the first man, who was brought out, in good health as he waved at his saviours.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rescuers flashed the victory sign and screamed in jubilation after the two were brought out from the narrow and dark tunnel.”We have rescued two of the three workers who were trapped in the tunnel for over a week. Beginning this morning our teams have also begun a horizontal drilling operation to see through the debris and find the third worker whom we suspect is trapped somewhere there,” NDRF Director General O P Singh, who is monitoring the rescue operation from New Delhi, told PTI.However, there has been no communication with the third worker identified as Hriday Ram.The NDRF commander at the spot said the two men who were rescued were in “good health”.The flawless rescue operation by the men of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) came a day after incessant rains lashed the mishap site and a snag developed in the heavy rig that was drilling through to rescue the trapped.The workers were trapped inside tunnel No 4 of Kiratpur-Nerchowk four-lane project near Bilaspur when a portion of it collapsed on September 12.The drilling of 1.2 m diameter tunnel to reach the trapped persons was almost complete and less than 1 m of drilling was left when the heavy drilling rig developed a snag last night, warranting replacement of a part of the drill and the operations were suspended.The rescuers, earlier, had also established communication with two of the three trapped labourers through digital cameras and microphones after hours of digging.A 45-member NDRF team, with three specially chosen men in the lead, have been working in the operation for days now.Food and water had been supplied to the trapped workers through a 47 m and 4-inch diameter bore.O P Singh said the biggest challenge for his rescue team was to effectively tackle loose rocks and seepage that was occuring in the narrow approach to the main part of the tunnel.”It was a very risky and long operation as our rescuers were totally exposed to loose rocks. We later used casing pipes to thwart this problem but it could only be done for a small length. The boys did a great job under challenging circumstances,” he said.”It was a tough operation as when we went down the tunnel in the first attempt it was not adequate. We are now looking for the third person and our operation is going on,” an NDRF commander at the spot said.Bilaspur Deputy Commissioner Manasi Sahay, also present on the spot, said the operation was not yet over as the teams were looking for the third person.”Why should I lose hope? We are trying our best to locate and rescue the third worker,” she told reporters.Mani Ram was first to be taken out through the 47 m deep and 1.2 m diameter tunnel after 211 hours and 47 minutes followed by Satish Tomar who came out eight minutes later.The three employees of Himalayan Construction Company(HCC) were trapped at Tehri, 13 km from Bilaspur, on the night of September 12 and round the clock rescue operations were conducted by engineers of HCC, SJVNL, HP Power Corporation, NHAI , NDRF and the district administration.Both Tomar and Ram were in high spirits and waved to the people and were taken to hospital in the ambulance along with a team of doctors.They wore goggles as sudden exposure to light after nine days in a dark and dingy tunnel could have caused damage to eyes.Three NDRF team members including a sub-inspector entered the main tunnel but could not reach the trapped employees as the tunnel was not wide enough and was zig-zag. The rescue operations were again impeded and finally the tunnel had to be widened to bring out the trapped persons.Further the water level in the tunnel was rising and pumps were deployed to drain out the water before taking the final leap.The rescue managers decided not to put the thin iron coating and took extra precautions to ensure no injury was caused while taking out the trapped persons from the tunnel.The construction company had completed work upto 275 m of the 1.4 km long tunnel and the employees were trapped at 70 m from the entry point. The tragedy struck at the time of change of evening shift and only three employees were in the tunnel otherwise number of persons trapped in the tunnel could be between 20 and 25.”It was a massive operation and we had put all our resources and sought help from Border Roads Organisation, National Highway Authority of India, Army, SJVN, HPPCL and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and finally two employees have been saved,” said D D Sharma, Special Secretary(Disaster Management and revenue).

Bilaspur fiasco: Two workers rescued after being trapped in collapsed tunnel for nine days

Shimla: Trapped for nine days, two workers were on Monday safely pulled out of the rubble of a partially collapsed under-construction tunnel in Himachal Pradesh by rescue teams ending their ordeal amid scenes of jubilation.

Search operations continued for the third worker who is still suspected stuck under the debris of the collapsed tunnel in Bilaspur, about 90 km from Shimla.

Image from IBNLive video.

Image from IBNLive video.

Surviving the ordeal, the rescued workers identified as Mani Ram and Satish Tomar were in good health, according to NDRF officials. TV visuals showed the first man, who was brought out, in good health as he waved at his saviours.

Rescuers flashed the victory sign and screamed in jubilation after the two were brought out from the narrow and dark tunnel.

“We have rescued two of the three workers who were trapped in the tunnel for over a week. Beginning this morning our teams have also begun a horizontal drilling operation to see through the debris and find the third worker whom we suspect is trapped somewhere there,” NDRF Director General OP Singh, who is monitoring the rescue operation from New Delhi, told PTI.

However, there has been no communication with the third worker identified as Hriday Ram.

The NDRF commander at the spot said the two men who were rescued were in “good health”.

The flawless rescue operation by the men of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) came a day after incessant rains lashed the mishap site and a snag developed in the heavy rig that was drilling through to rescue the trapped.

The workers were trapped inside tunnel No 4 of Kiratpur-Nerchowk four-lane project near Bilaspur when a portion of it collapsed on 12 September.

The drilling of 1.2 m diameter tunnel to reach the trapped persons was almost complete and less than 1 m of drilling was left when the heavy drilling rig developed a snag last night, warranting replacement of a part of the drill and the operations were suspended.

The rescuers, earlier, had also established communication with two of the three trapped labourers through digital cameras and microphones after hours of digging.

A 45-member NDRF team, with three specially chosen men in the lead, have been working in the operation for days now.

Food and water had been supplied to the trapped workers through a 47 m and 4-inch diameter bore.

OP Singh said the biggest challenge for his rescue team was to effectively tackle loose rocks and seepage that was occuring in the narrow approach to the main part of the tunnel.

“It was a very risky and long operation as our rescuers were totally exposed to loose rocks. We later used casing pipes to thwart this problem but it could only be done for a small length. The boys did a great job under challenging circumstances,” he said.

“It was a tough operation as when we went down the tunnel in the first attempt it was not adequate. We are now looking for the third person and our operation is going on,” an NDRF commander at the spot said.

Bilaspur Deputy Commissioner Manasi Sahay, also present on the spot, said the operation was not yet over as the teams were looking for the third person.

“Why should I lose hope? We are trying our best to locate and rescue the third worker,” she told reporters.

Mani Ram was first to be taken out through the 47 m deep and 1.2 m diameter tunnel after 211 hours and 47 minutes followed by Satish Tomar who came out eight minutes later.

The three employees of Himalayan Construction Company(HCC) were trapped at Tehri, 13 km from Bilaspur, on the night of September 12 and round the clock rescue operations were conducted by engineers of HCC, SJVNL, HP Power Corporation, NHAI , NDRF and the district administration.

Both Tomar and Ram were in high spirits and waved to the people and were taken to hospital in the ambulance along with a team of doctors.

They wore goggles as sudden exposure to light after nine days in a dark and dingy tunnel could have caused damage to eyes.

Three NDRF team members including a sub-inspector entered the main tunnel but could not reach the trapped employees as the tunnel was not wide enough and was zig-zag. The rescue operations were again impeded and finally the tunnel had to be widened to bring out the trapped persons.

Further the water level in the tunnel was rising and pumps were deployed to drain out the water before taking the final leap.

The rescue managers decided not to put the thin iron coating and took extra precautions to ensure no injury was caused while taking out the trapped persons from the tunnel.

The construction company had completed work upto 275 m of the 1.4 km long tunnel and the employees were trapped at 70 m from the entry point. The tragedy struck at the time of change of evening shift and only three employees were in the tunnel otherwise number of persons trapped in the tunnel could be between 20 and 25.

“It was a massive operation and we had put all our resources and sought help from Border Roads Organisation, National Highway Authority of India, Army, SJVN, HPPCL and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and finally two employees have been saved,” said DD Sharma, Special Secretary(Disaster Management and revenue).

PTI

Portion of tunnel caves in, three persons trapped

Three employees of Himalayan Construction Company executing the Kiratpur-Ner Chowk four laning project were trapped when a portion of a tunnel at Tihra, 15 Km from Bilaspur, caved in last night.

Image Courtesy: Twitter (ANI)
Three employees of Himalayan Construction Company executing the Kiratpur-Ner Chowk four laning project were trapped when a portion of a tunnel at Tihra, 15 Km from Bilaspur, caved in last night.The number of people trapped or buried under the debris would have been much more but most of the workers of the evening shift had left and only three employees including the foreman and overseer were present when the tragedy struck.Huge quantity of muck has blocked the tunnel in a 100 mts patch and the condition of the workers was not known.The district administration and police officers are at the spot for rescue operations and help of NDRF has also been sought, Project Director, NHAI, S Kaul said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Efforts are being made to induce oxygen into the tunnel and insert a 1.5 diameter pipe to make esacpe route for the people trapped inside the 1.4 km long tunnel with 12 mts diameter.The cause of mishap in yet to ascertained but experts believe that it might have happened due to sinking of some portion.”The tunnel looked strong and there was no such sign when I visited the site few days back but it is possible that there might be some underlying soft layers,” Kaul said.Superintendent of Police, Bilaspur, Balbir Thakur told from the spot that the project authorities have informed that only three workers had been trapped and rescue works are in full swing.Heavy machinery had been deployed to remove debris.So far 250 mts of 1.4 mts tunnel has been constructed.

Jhabua blast: MP police register case against owner of building, 90 dead so far

Jhabua: At least 89 people were killed and nearly 100 injured on Saturday after a massive blast caused by mining explosives stored in a building ripped through a crowded area in Petlwad town in Jhabua district.

The blast occurred at 8.30am, completely destroying at least two buildings– one in which explosive material for digging wells was stored and an adjacent restaurant, and damaging several houses, officials said.

Deadly cylinder blast at Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh. PTIDeadly cylinder blast at Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh. PTI

Deadly cylinder blast at Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh. PTI

“Eighty-nine people have been killed in the explosion,” block medical officer Urmila Choyal told PTI.

The explosion took place in the building of Rajendra Kasawa who has a licence to use explosive material for digging wells in rocky areas.

Kasawa stored the explosive material including gelatin sticks in huge quantity in the residential building having two shops in it and situated close to the busy Sethia Restaurant in new bus stand area, a police official said.

In the vicinity of the restaurant, a large number of daily wage labourers were sitting when the explosion occurred.

Besides many persons were there inside the restaurant which is a major eatery in the area, an eyewitness said.

One of the injured, Narsingh (42), said body parts were strewn in the area after the blast.

“We have seen them flying and falling on the ground. Vehicles specially two-wheelers were badly damaged and lying on the road,” he said.

Due to the impact of the explosion, the double-story house in which explosive material were stored collapsed trapping a number of persons, he said.

State Home Minister Babulal Gaur said a high-level inquiry has been ordered into the incident.

Expressing anguish over the loss of lives, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for those injured.

“We have performed autopsy so far on 60 bodies. Rest are lying in the premises for post-mortem,” chief medical officer Arun Sharma said.

Among the victims were a large number of labourers who were waiting in area for their daily work. Besides some people going to Gujarat were also standing near the hotel for tea and snacks and majority of them were either killed or injured in the blast, a police official said.

“Initially we heard the sound of crackers from a house that also has two shops on the ground floor. Later, when someone opened its shutter, a huge explosion took place forcing people to run for cover,” Balram, an injured labourer, told PTI in Jhabua district hospital.

“Only those people survived who ran away from the spot but they too suffered injuries,” Narsingh said and claimed nearly 150 people were injured.

A large number of people were also trapped in the retuarant located in an adjacent three-storey building, he said.

Earlier, police had said that the explosion was caused by a cooking gas cylinder kept in the hotel restaurant.

Nearly 100 people were injured in the explosion, a police official said.

“I am in constant touch with officials. The incident is sad and has left me shaken. The reasons for the blast will be investigated,” the chief minister said.

Senior officials from Jhabua including superintendent of police GG Pandey besides State Tribal Welfare Minister Antar Singh Arya had rushed to the spot.

A team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was dispatched to help in the salvage operations.

“A team equipped with gadgets to operate in collapsed structures has been sent to the accident site in Jhabua from Vadodara in Gujarat. The team will assist local administration in retrieval operations,” NDRF director general OP Singh told PTI in Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives.

“Extremely pained at the loss of lives due to the cylinder blast in Jhabua. My deepest condolences to the families of the deceased. I wish all those injured a speedy recovery. MP Govt. is monitoring the situation closely,” Modi said.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi also expressed distress.

“Offering her deepest condolences to families of deceased Sonia Gandhi hoped that immediate treatment and adequate relief was being provided,” the ANI reported.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh has expressed deep condolences to the families of those killed in the incident.

“I have just received the information. The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister is visiting the site. My condolence with the affected families. It was a very unfortunate mishap,” he said.

With PTI inputs

Jhabua blast: 89 dead, over 100 injured in deadly cylinder blast

Jhabua: At least 89 people were killed and nearly 100 injured on Saturday after a massive blast caused by mining explosives stored in a building ripped through a crowded area in Petlwad town in Jhabua district.

The blast occurred at 8.30am, completely destroying at least two buildings– one in which explosive material for digging wells was stored and an adjacent restaurant, and damaging several houses, officials said.

Deadly cylinder blast at Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh. PTIDeadly cylinder blast at Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh. PTI

Deadly cylinder blast at Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh. PTI

“Eighty-nine people have been killed in the explosion,” block medical officer Urmila Choyal told PTI.

The explosion took place in the building of Rajendra Kasawa who has a licence to use explosive material for digging wells in rocky areas.

Kasawa stored the explosive material including gelatin sticks in huge quantity in the residential building having two shops in it and situated close to the busy Sethia Restaurant in new bus stand area, a police official said.

In the vicinity of the restaurant, a large number of daily wage labourers were sitting when the explosion occurred.

Besides many persons were there inside the restaurant which is a major eatery in the area, an eyewitness said.

One of the injured, Narsingh (42), said body parts were strewn in the area after the blast.

“We have seen them flying and falling on the ground. Vehicles specially two-wheelers were badly damaged and lying on the road,” he said.

Due to the impact of the explosion, the double-story house in which explosive material were stored collapsed trapping a number of persons, he said.

State Home Minister Babulal Gaur said a high-level inquiry has been ordered into the incident.

Expressing anguish over the loss of lives, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for those injured.

“We have performed autopsy so far on 60 bodies. Rest are lying in the premises for post-mortem,” chief medical officer Arun Sharma said.

Among the victims were a large number of labourers who were waiting in area for their daily work. Besides some people going to Gujarat were also standing near the hotel for tea and snacks and majority of them were either killed or injured in the blast, a police official said.

“Initially we heard the sound of crackers from a house that also has two shops on the ground floor. Later, when someone opened its shutter, a huge explosion took place forcing people to run for cover,” Balram, an injured labourer, told PTI in Jhabua district hospital.

“Only those people survived who ran away from the spot but they too suffered injuries,” Narsingh said and claimed nearly 150 people were injured.

A large number of people were also trapped in the retuarant located in an adjacent three-storey building, he said.

Earlier, police had said that the explosion was caused by a cooking gas cylinder kept in the hotel restaurant.

Nearly 100 people were injured in the explosion, a police official said.

“I am in constant touch with officials. The incident is sad and has left me shaken. The reasons for the blast will be investigated,” the chief minister said.

Senior officials from Jhabua including superintendent of police GG Pandey besides State Tribal Welfare Minister Antar Singh Arya had rushed to the spot.

A team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was dispatched to help in the salvage operations.

“A team equipped with gadgets to operate in collapsed structures has been sent to the accident site in Jhabua from Vadodara in Gujarat. The team will assist local administration in retrieval operations,” NDRF director general OP Singh told PTI in Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives.

“Extremely pained at the loss of lives due to the cylinder blast in Jhabua. My deepest condolences to the families of the deceased. I wish all those injured a speedy recovery. MP Govt. is monitoring the situation closely,” Modi said.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi also expressed distress.

“Offering her deepest condolences to families of deceased Sonia Gandhi hoped that immediate treatment and adequate relief was being provided,” the ANI reported.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh has expressed deep condolences to the families of those killed in the incident.

“I have just received the information. The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister is visiting the site. My condolence with the affected families. It was a very unfortunate mishap,” he said.

With PTI inputs

At least 80 dead, 80 injured after cylinder blast sets off explosives in Jhabua, MP

Jhabua: At least 80 persons were killed due to a massive explosion in Petalwad town in Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district. The extent of damage, initially reported to be the result of a cooking gas cylinder blast in a eatery, was far worse than suspected as it was discovered that the first explosion had triggered another one.

According to reports, the cylinder blast may have actually triggered a much bigger explosion, with illegally stored gelatin sticks in a house also exploding.

Deadly cylinder blast at Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh. PTIDeadly cylinder blast at Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh. PTI

Deadly cylinder blast at Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh. PTI

According to sources, the blast took place in the house of one Rajendra Kumar Kaswa who had stored gelatine sticks in his house along with LPG cylinders, The Hindustan Times reported.

Initial reports, that quoted police officials, suggested that the cylinder blast actually took place in a restaurant. The restaurant was located in a three-storey building, while the explosives were stored in another house that resulted in the bigger explosion.

However, sub-divisional officer of Police (SDOP), Petlawad, AR Khan told PTI that the explosion took place around 8.30am in a store in a building where huge piles of explosive material, used for mines, were kept.

There were conflicting reports on whether the house in which the gelatin sticks were stored was in the same building as the restaurant or the adjacent one.

Investigators are still attempting to piece together the sequence of events that took place.

A team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been dispatched to Jhabua to help in the salvage operations of the collapsed building.

“A team equipped with gadgets to operate in collapsed structures has been sent to the accident site in Jhabua from Vadodara in Gujarat.The team will assist local administration in retrieval operations,” NDRF Director General OP Singh told PTI in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives.

“Extremely pained at the loss of lives due to the cylinder blast in Jhabua. My deepest condolences to the families of the deceased. I wish all those injured a speedy recovery. MP Govt. is monitoring the situation closely,” Modi said.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi also expressed distress.

“Offering her deepest condolences to families of deceased Sonia Gandhi hoped that immediate treatment and adequate relief was being provided,” the ANI reported.

News agency ANI reported that Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan had directed the state home minister, principal secretary, director general of police to visit the site.

At least 35 people have been pulled out of the debris and referred to a nearby hospital, Jhabua district magistrate Aruna Gupta told PTI.

Many others are suspected to be trapped in the debris, she said, adding that the exact number of casualties will be known once the rescue operations are over.

Senior officials from Jhabua including superintendent of police GG Pandey besides State Tribal Welfare Minister Antar Singh Arya rushed to the spot. State Home Minister Babulal Gaur said a high-level inquiry has been ordered into the incident.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for those injured.

With inputs from PTI

NDRF gets its first woman commanding officer in Commandment Rekha Nambiar

The National Disaster Response Forces’ (NDRF) 4th Battalion based in Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu will now be commanded by senior Commandant Rekha Nambiar, who recently joined the force on deputation from the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

In yet another proverbial breaking of the glass ceiling, country’s national disaster combat force –NDRF– has appointed a woman as its first commanding officer of a full operational battalion. The National Disaster Response Forces’ (NDRF) 4th Battalion based in Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu will now be commanded by senior Commandant Rekha Nambiar, who recently joined the force on deputation from the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).Nambiar (40) was till now commanding the CISF unit deployed for securing the Chennai international airport as the Chief Airport Security Officer (CASO). Officials said the decision to appoint Nambiar as the Commanding Officer (CO) of the about 1,000 personnel-strong all-men battalion was taken keeping in mind the woman officer’s excellent service record and as part of NDRF Director General O P Singh’s initiative to bring in women empowerment in the central force.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Yes, we have appointed the first women officer in NDRF. This has been done keeping in mind the gender harmony in the force and the officer who has been given the charge has very good credentials,” Singh told PTI. He added that the force will induct more women personnel in various ranks in the future as a number of disaster scenarios necessitate woman combatants.”Over the time we have felt that the NDRF should have women in its ranks when tackling a disaster. The process has begun,” the DG said.The NDRF unit based in Arakkonam is tasked with responding to disasters primarily in south India but in case of emergency, it can be airlifted to any part of the country. The unit had also participated in the relief and rescue operations during the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal early this year. The NDRF, a senior official said, is also working on an action plan to have at least 10 per cent of its strength as women personnel. Singh had also recently written to various central forces to provide women officers and personnel to the force at the cutting-edge level. NDRF, a force raised by bringing on deputation personnel from various paramilitary forces, is the first responder in case of any natural or man-made disasters and its units are deployed in various parts of the country for such emergencies. At present NDRF battalions, apart from Arakkonam in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu, are based in Guwahati (Assam), Kolkata (West Bengal), Cuttack (Odisha), Pune (Maharashtra), Gandhinagar (Gujarat), Bathinda (Punjab), Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh), Patna (Bihar) and Vijaywada (Andhra Pradesh).

BJP criticises Mamata Banerjee’s proposal for all party meet on flood

The West Bengal chief minister during the day called an all party meeting on Saturday to discuss the present flood situation in the state, which has claimed several lives.

West Bengal floods
File Photo

Criticising West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s proposal to call an all-party meeting to discuss the flood situation, BJP state President Rahul Sinha on Thursday said instead of it an all party inspection team should be sent to each affected district. “Instead of an all party meeting, an all party inspection team should be sent to each district with at least five teams in each district to talk to the affected people and understand the actual situation. The teams should be headed by a minister. The member of the political party in the team should be nominated from the respective party,” Sinha said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The chief minister during the day called an all party meeting on Saturday to discuss the present flood situation in the state, which has claimed several lives. “The all-party meet is just an eyewash to demand more money from the central government. She has slated it for August 11 or August 12. The central government has already given Rs 193 crore and another Rs 307 crore is about to come with the assurance of sending more money from NDRF,” he said.

81 dead in floods across India, Home Ministry monitoring situation

Gujarat, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Manipur and Odisha worst affected by the floods.

Floods in West Midnapore

PTI
At least 81 people have died so far and more than 80 lakh people affected in fresh floods due to excessive rains in Gujarat, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Manipur and Odisha. West Bengal, Manipur and Odisha and neighbouring Myanmar have been affected by the floods resulting from the Cyclone Komen which has hit Bangladesh.GujaratIn Gujarat, 14 districts and population of about 40 lakh were affected in recent floods due to heavy rainfall in the last few days. More than 10 lakh food packets have been airdropped or distributed to the flood victims, an official statement said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Temporary relief camps have been set up in affected areas and peoples are accommodated on need basis. A total of 17 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been deployed for rescue and relief operations in Gujarat.RajasthanIn Rajasthan, so far 28 people have lost their lives, out of which 12 people died during past few days owing to very heavy rainfall and flood like situation in many parts of the state. Rajasthan has experienced excessive rainfall in most of its districts. The situation is grim particularly in districts of Jalore, Jhalawar, Baran, Sirohi, Barmer and Dungarpur.Apart from State Disaster Response Force, Police, RAC etc., at present eight teams of NDRF were deployed for rescue and relief operations. So far, more than 630 peoples have been rescued from various districts in Rajasthan. Relief materials have been distributed to the affected population.West BengalFourty eight people have died in the floods in West Bengal owing to lightening, wall collapse, electrocution, snake bite and drowning. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called in the army for rescue operations in the worst flood-hit areas on Sunday. She has postponed her tri to northern West Bengal in order to personally look at the rescue operations. As reported by State government due to cyclone KOMEN, heavy to very heavy rainfall occurred at isolated places in almost all South West Bengal districts. So far, 12 districts consisting of 210 blocks and 9,691 villages have been affected due to floods. A population of 36,90,627 are affected.State Government has deployed 121 boats for rescue and relief operations. A total of 5,672 cattle is also lost in the floods.The State Government has set up 1,537 relief camps and 2,14,306 people have been accommodated, it said.The army has carried rescue and relief operations in Jhawdanga village in Purbasthali Block 2 in Burdwan district from their base camp in Panagarh. At least 450 villagers have been evacuated from the village where river Bhagirathi had overflown. Burdwan District Magistrate has said to HT that 150 villagers were still stuck and army was rescuing them. The worst affected districts are Burdwan, Murshidabad, West Midnapore, Howrah. Various rivers in Bengal had breached their embankments. Parts of Kolkata was waterlogged following the heavy rainsManipurMeanwhile, persistent rainfall over the past few days caused a massive landslide at Joumol village in Chandel district in Manipur on Saturday, killing at least 21 people. As per reports, the landslide led to the collapse of almost all houses in the Zoumul village under Khengjoi sub-division. According to HT two people including a 60-year old farmer died in Langmeidong and Rengkai.The report adds that, areas in and around capital Imphal and its outskirts were submerged.“A team of Assam Rifles have reached the spot (Joumol village) today with the help of a helicopter and carrying out search and rescue operation,” an official source said to HT. Several hundreds living near riverbanks were being moved to a safer location. Moreh, a commercial town near the Indo-Myanmar border was cut-off from Imphal following a landslide. Several villages in Ukhrul district too were cut-off from the rest of the state.Responding to the situation, the state Irrigation and Flood Control Department has reportedly opened one control room with the number 0385-2451550 in Imphal. Centre directed NDRF to move forces to Manipur for rescue and relief operations in the landslide-affected areas.OdishaTen villages were marooned in Odisha and a total of five people lost their lives and while 644 villages and population 4,80,399 are affected. “All the major rivers in the state are flowing below the danger level. However, inflow of rain water from West Bengal, where heavy rainfall occurred under the effect of cyclonic system Komen, has caused marooning of some more villages in Balasore district,” special relief commissioner GVV Sarma said to HT.ODRAF units are carrying out relief and rescue operations.So far 1574 people have been evacuated to safer places. Seven relief camps have been opened and 55 people have been accommodated. 132 boats have been deployed for rescue operations.MyanmarIn Myanmar, 15 have been killed due to the floods and 1,50,000 people have been affected. Four districts in central and western have been declared as ‘national disaster-affected regions’.Many are sheltered in monasteries. The rescue operations remain hampered due to the floods.With inputs from Pooja Mehta and agencies

2 NDRF teams deployed in landslides-hit Manipur

Twenty people were killed in a landslide triggered by heavy incessant rain at Joumol village in Manipur’s Chandel district on Saturday.

NDRF team
File Photo

Two teams of NDRF have been deployed to Manipur’s Chandel district where 20 villagers were swept away in landslides on Saturday. One team of 22 rescuers of National Disaster Response Force has been airlifted and has already reached the worst affected Joumol village where 12 houses were also swept away by landslides on Saturday.The other team is reaching this evening, an official statement said on Sunday. Twenty people were killed in a landslide triggered by heavy incessant rain at Joumol village in Manipur’s Chandel district on Saturday. The village is located about 96 kms from Tengnoupa, the nearest town, of which 83 km is motorable. Rescue operations are going on and they have rescued one villager so far, the official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Home Minister Rajnath Singh has spoken to Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh over phone last night and assured him all central assistance to deal with the situation arising out of the massive landslides in Chandel district.

Himachal Pradesh bus accident: 9 bodies recovered, 20 still missing

Around 20-24 people have been reported to be missing and chances of their survival are bleak, according to various news reports.

Image Courtesy: ANI

Nine dead bodies have been recovered after a tourist bus, with 51-56 passengers on board, fell into a gorge in River Parvati in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh on Thursday.According to the Kullu Police Control Room, 23 people have been rescued so far while at least 20 persons are still missing. The Kullu PCR informed dna, that the NDRF team have been asked to help. Himachal Pradesh recently witnessed heavy rainfalls that washed away several roads in Kullu following the flash floods and the local administration had already announced the area as accident prone.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Injured passengers who were under treatment at the local hospital in Kullu told a local news website that the bus driver tried to avoid a crash with a two-wheeler in Sarsari village and hit a rock, after which the driver lost control and the bus fell 200 feet from the cliff into the Parvati river. Among the 23 rescued, there were three kids (aged 3, 5 and 9 years) and 4 women. Most passengers were from Mansa and Barnala town of Punjab who were going to the famous Sikh shrine in Manikaran.

Delhi: 4-storey building in Vishnu Garden collapses, 15 feared trapped

Rescue work ensuing in the area

Image Courtesy: ANI
A four-storey building collapsed tonight in Vishnu Garden area of west Delhi and over 15 people were feared trapped under the debris.Eight fire tenders, teams of National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), local police and officials from district administration have rushed to the spot to rescue those trapped in the debris.”We received the call about the building collapse at 9.07 pm and immediately eight fire tenders were rushed to the spot to rescue the affected people. It is a four-storey building and many people are feared to be trapped, a Fire Department official said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A senior official of local administration said 15-20 people are feared trapped in the debris. DCP of West Delhi Pushpendra Kumar said that the building in Vishnu Garden in Khayala area caved in and NDRF, local police and civil administration were carrying out a rescue operation.

Darjeeling: Landslide toll mounts upto 42

The search operation was on to recover more missing persons by Army, NDRF, SSB and other rescue teams.

Reuters
One more body was found on Monday night in the landslide-battered Darjeeling district, taking the toll to 42.The body of Shreya Sharma (9) was found from under the debris of landslide-ravaged Tingling tea estate area, a senior police officer said. Earlier, body of Ramesh Rai (26) was retrieved from under rubble in the 8 Mile area of Kalimpong by NDRF and Civil Defence volunteers, district Disaster Cell Officer-in-charge Gopal Rai said.The search operation was on to recover more missing persons by Army, NDRF, SSB and other rescue teams. Meanwhile, preliminary repair work was going on along those parts of the three national highways where damage by landslides was comparatively light, according to Public Works Department sources.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For major damages, tenders have to be floated according to PWD rules, they said. Meanwhile, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) North Bengal Zonal Council launched its first phase of Mirik Landslide Relief Operations with trucks sent to the affected area.

Heavy rains lash Gujarat, 34 dead; Rajkot & Ahmedabad among worst-affected districts

NDRF, Air Force and SRP teams were pressed into service at Gondal of Rajkot district and in Amreli district to rescue stranded people as many villages have been cut off and electricity supply has been disrupted.

Damaged bridge on Bhader river near Sultanpur village in Rajkot district of West Gujarat on Wednesday.

Heavy rains triggered by a deep depression in the weather system claimed as many 34 lives in Gujarat on Wednesday.Saurashtra region was pounded by incessant rains with Gir Somnath, Amreli, Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Ahmedabad among the worst-affected districtsNDRF, Air Force and SRP teams were pressed into service at Gondal of Rajkot district and in Amreli district to rescue stranded people as many villages have been cut off and electricity supply has been disrupted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian Coast Guard and Air Force rescued 14 crew members of a ship M V Coastal Pride which sunk near Umargaon coast.(Damaged houses after heavy rains in Sultanpur village in Rajkot district of West Gujarat on Wednesday.)As many as 34 people lost their lives including 23 casualties in the worst affected Amreli district, state relief commissioner D N Pandey told PTI.”Five people died in Bhavnagar district and two persons died in Rajkot district,” Pandey said.Two persons died due to electrocution in Surat city, said Surat district collector Rajendra Kumar adding that the city recorded more than 100 mm rain-fall today.According to the state control room data, around 1,500 people in Amreli, 4,121 in Rajkot and 100 in Bhavnagar were shifted to safer place from low-lying areas.Around 60 villages in Amreli district were cut off from rest of state. The situation worsened after waters of Shetrunji river entered surrounding villages.Villages of Dhari (511 mm), Bagasara (636 mm) and Variyav (400 mm) recorded very heavy rainfall in Amreli district, control room officer Siddiq Beldiwala said.Around 1,500 people residing in lower areas of the district were evacuated with the help of two teams of State reserve police force (SPRF) along with two teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).Rajkot district recorded more than 323 mm rainfall in last 24 hours. At least 350 people trapped in areas with heavy water-logging were evacuated from Rajkot city itself.

Heavy rains in Gujarat kill 34 people, thousands evacuated

Ahmedabad: 34 people died after heavy rains triggered a deep depression in Gujarat on Wednesday.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Saurashtra region was pounded by incessant rains with Gir Somnath, Amreli, Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Ahmedabad among the worst-affected districts.

NDRF, air force and SRP teams were pressed into service at Gondal of Rajkot district and in Amreli district to rescue stranded people as many villages have been cut off and electricity supply has been disrupted.

Indian Coast Guard and air force rescued 14 crew members of a ship MV Coastal Pride which sank near Umargaon coast. As many as 34 people lost their lives on Wednesday including 23 casualties in the worst affected Amreli district, state relief commissioner DN Pandey told PTI.

“Five people died in Bhavnagar district and two persons died in Rajkot district,” Pandey said.

Two people died due to electrocution in Surat, said city’s district collector Rajendra Kumar adding that the city recorded more than 100 mm rainfall on Wednesday.

According to the state control room data, around 1,500 people in Amreli, 4,121 in Rajkot and 100 in Bhavnagar were shifted to safer places from low-lying areas.

Around 60 villages in Amreli district were cut off from the rest of the state. The situation worsened after water of Shetrunji river entered surrounding villages.

Villages of Dhari (511 mm), Bagasara (636 mm) and Variyav (400 mm) in Amreli district recorded very heavy rainfall, control room officer Siddiq Beldiwala said.

Around 1,500 people residing in lower areas of the district were evacuated with the help of State Reserve Police Force (SPRF) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams.

At least 350 people trapped in areas with heavy water-logging were evacuated from Rajkot, which recorded more than 323 mm rainfall in last 24 hours.

In Rajkot’s Gondal taluka, ten villages were cut off by flood waters, said district collector Manisha Chandra. Three teams of NDRF were deployed in Gondal, she added.

The road traffic was also disrupted at several places.

Western Railway PRO said trains on Gondal line were affected due to water logging on tracks.

“The deep depression over Saurashtra and adjoining Gujarat region persists,” MET department said in its forecast.

“The deep depression will be moving northeast-wardly and is likely to bring heavy rains in Gujarat region tomorrow after which it will weaken,” deputy director of the Ahmedabad centre of MET Manorama Mohanty said.

Some areas in Ahmeabad have recorded 200 mm of rainfall in the last four hours.

PTI

Flood-like situation in Gujarat; Heavy rainfall expected on Thursday

NDRF, Indian Air Force and SRP teams have been pressed into service at Rajkot and Amreli districts to rescue stranded people as heavy rains disrupted the electricity supply in many villages.

Representational Image
Agencies
Reuters
Heavy rains caused due to deep depression has created a flood-like situation in Amreli and Rajkot districts of Saurashtra, besides claiming two lives with around 1,500 people shifted to safer locations. NDRF, Indian Air Force and SRP teams have been pressed into service at Rajkot and Amreli districts to rescue stranded people as heavy rains disrupted the electricity supply in many villages. The weather officials have predicted that the depression will be moving North-Eastwards which will bring more rains in the region on Thursday. “The deep depression over Saurashtra and adjoining Gujarat region persists,” MET department said in its forecast. “The deep depression will be moving North-Eastwardly and is likely to bring heavy rains in Gujarat region tomorrow after which it will weaken,” Deputy director of the Ahmedabad centre of MET department Manorama Mohanty said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Districts which have received heavy rains include — Gir Somnath, Amreli, Rajkot and Ahmedabad. In the South Gujarat, two casualties were reported in Surat city due to electrocution, said district collector of Surat. “Two persons died due to electrocution in the city,” said Surat district collector Rajendra Kumar. Surat city has recorded more than 100 mm rain-fall today itself, he said. While Amreli of Saurashtra region was one of the worst affected districts, around 60 villages of the district were cut off from rest of state due to heavy downpour. According to disaster management control room officer, the situation worsened after waters of Shetrunji river entered surrounding village due to incessant rainfall. Also Read: Depression over Arabian Sea; heavy rains likely in Maharashtra and Gujarat

Centre to release Rs 2,437 crore for flood-ravaged Jammu-Kashmir

New Delhi: The Centre on Tuesday announced an additional package of Rs 2,437 crore for reconstruction and rehabilitation of flood-ravaged Jammu and Kashmir.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, in a joint press conference, said Rs 2,602 crore had already been released last year by the government to help the state in relief and rehabilitation work.

“Last year, Rs 2,602 crore had been released last year. Other than this, Rs 2,437 crore will be released this year,” Jaitley told reporters in New Delhi.

File photo/Associated PressFile photo/Associated Press

File photo/Associated Press

He said a team of Niti Aayog’s Chief Executive Officer and Expenditure Secretary will be visiting Jammu and Kashmir to take stock of its future development needs.

“We will make a larger development plan. The officials will discuss with the state and give their views to the Centre on areas like power, highway, education, tourism and health services. The schemes which we have tentatively announced and some more which may be there, that will be decided later,” the Finance Minister said.

Jaitley said there has been a special focus of the central government on development of Jammu and Kashmir, Leh and Ladakh and Kargil regions. “There has been a popular government after the election in the state and the Centre will support it so that it completes its development agenda,” he said.

Jaitley said that development is a work in progress. Last year’s flood have affected all regions. Rs 770 crore was given at that time under the Prime Minister Relief Fund and Rs 1,602 crore was released under State Disaster Relief Fund and National Disaster Relief Fund. Special project assistance of Rs 1,000 crore was also announced by the Prime Minister when he had visited the state, he said.

The Centre has also decided to give foodgrains at Below Poverty Lines (BPL) prices besides approval on construction of Jammu-Srinagar highway. A total of 75,000 ‘kacha and pakka’ houses, which were damaged, will also be rebuilt under the grant, Jaitley said.

Jaitley said there has been growth of Jammu and Kashmir and its three parts.

“Tourism in the state is mainstream and at present a good tourism season is going on. There has been a loss to tourism projects and 12 tourism places,” he said.

PTI

Winning hearts and headlines: PM Modi doesn’t want India’s efforts in Nepal to go unnoticed

Operation Maitri has perhaps redefined the way India responded to a natural disaster, whether within the country or in its neighbourhood. India and Nepal have always enjoyed friendly relations, and are socially, culturally and historically tied to each other. What has changed things now is the alacrity and the scale with which Modi government reacted to a devastating natural tragedy in India’s neighbour.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s quick response has earned him thanks from Nepali authorities and possibly of the people there as well. Modi after all, rose in stature as a leader and as an able administrator when he successfully changed the face of Bhuj, Anjar and other areas devastated by 2001 earthquake in Gujarat. Over the years, he seems to have bettered his instinctive response to such situations.

India’s prompt response may also have been guided by strategic reasons apart from humanitarian ones.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairing a meet on relief measures in Nepal. PIB imagePrime Minister Narendra Modi chairing a meet on relief measures in Nepal. PIB image

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairing a meet on relief measures in Nepal. PIB image

“If we had not risen to the occasion and stood by the neighbour then China could have found it an occasion to penetrate in the Nepalese hinterland. Historically we have so much in common with Nepal and we did exactly what we ought to have done under the circumstances”, a senior BJP MP said.

There is a conscious attempt by his party and senior ministers in the government to attribute all the good work that the official agencies are doing to the Prime Minister. Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement in Parliament was most revealing in this regard.

“I have no hesitation in admitting this in the House that I was not aware about this till I reached home (after attending inauguration function of National Intelligence Academy where Modi was also present). But the prime minister had already received the information. The prime minister told me that he had called a meeting at 3 pm. A big tragedy has happened and you would have received the information, Honestly, I would admit that the promptness I should have shown as home minister and the information I should have got were not there,” Singh said.

Modi has been holding review meetings almost on a daily basis with top functionaries including finance minister Arun Jaitley, home minister Rajnath Singh, defence minister Manohar Parrikar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra, and Additional Principal Secretary to PM PK Mishra, and senior officials from IMD, and NDRF. In the last meeting, Modi also made a broad assessment of the long-term rehabilitation and reconstruction work that would be required, especially in Nepal, and was briefed on the first steps that were being taken. He also suggested that ex-servicemen could be approached to help in the co-ordination effort.

The government is keen that its rescue and relief efforts do not go unnoticed. While transmission of information about rescue and relief measures does give a instil confidence among people stranded in affected areas, it also gives a sense to the world at large that the Indian government was responding adequately to the need of the hour. This time around Modi government seems to be particularly sensitive on this count.

Top bureaucrats including Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, Home Secretary LC Goyal, Defence Secretary RK Mathur, Member Secretary, NDMA, RK Jain and Director General IMD Dr LS Rathore have been tasked to hold media briefings every evening and give updates on relief work as well as the current situation. It is perhaps for the first time since the Kargil war when the government is organising daily media briefings by such high level officials.

A day before the second half of the budget session began, Modi while speaking at a workshop of BJP MPs, rued that the government had failed to effectively communicate its rescue work in Yemen, from where hundreds of Indians had been safely evacuated. Modi is now putting a system in place that should begin working as soon as there’s a natural or man made calamity, a BJP leader said.

Last year Modi has shown promptness after flash floods struck Jammu and Kashmir or when there was a threat of a flash flood in Bihar due to a possible breach in barrage on river Kosi in Nepal. Earlier, as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate he was involved in rescue and relief during the floods in Uttrakhand and landed in the state to launch a parallel relief and rescue operation.

Among the affected regions of India, Bihar has suffered maximum damage, both in terms of life and property. As per the official figures 57 persons, out of 72 deaths in India, have died in the state. With four NDRF teams already in Bihar and ex-gratia payment increased, both the centre and state are acting as a team. But with assembly elections is the state only six months away, the politics over it will soon intensify.

6 more NDRF teams sent to Nepal as India steps up relief efforts

New Delhi: India on Tuesday pressed six more teams of NDRF personnel into its relief and rescue operations in Nepal as the Himalayan country struggles to cope in the grim aftermath of the deadly earthquake which has left thousands dead and affected millions.

Relief material from Punjab being loaded onto an IAF aircraft before taking off for Nepal. PTI PhotoRelief material from Punjab being loaded onto an IAF aircraft before taking off for Nepal. PTI Photo

Relief material from Punjab being loaded onto an IAF aircraft before taking off for Nepal. PTI Photo

With the induction of the new teams on the fourth day of the disaster, the total number of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams in Nepal has gone up to 16 with 10 already engaged in rescue operations there for the last few days. Each NDRF team has about 45 personnel.

“While three new teams have landed in Kathmandu today from Kolkata via the air route, three others have moved by road from Patna to the Nepalese capital. They are expected to reach any time,” a senior official said here.

NDRF rescuers are at present deployed in areas like Tanu Hospital, Balajutra, Balkhu, Goodbal, Brijeshwari, Chavmati, Vasundranmunatal, Maharajganj, Gangabhu, (two teams) and Shobha Bhagwati Bridge (two teams).

“So far, the force has rescued 11 people and pulled out 73 dead bodies from the debris in Nepal,” the official said, adding that the teams have also recovered two gold bangles, a gold necklace and mangal sutra, Nepalese currency worth Rs 1,06,769 and a mobile phone during the operations.

An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has also been taken to Kathmandu and it will be used to map the affected areas for planning deployment of resources and workforce, the official said.

The official said that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh early today also spoke to NDRF chief OP Singh, who is camping and supervising rescue operations in the Nepalese capital.

The NDRF chief briefed the Home Minister about the ground situation and fresh requirements for the operations, he said.

PTI

Anger and chaos in Nepal: Relief efforts stalled as earthquake toll hits 4352

Despite a massive international aid operation being mobilised for the tens of thousands stricken by the devastating earthquake in Nepal, which killed more than 4,300 people, the country’s officials scrambled to get aid from the main airport to people left homeless and hungry, while thousands tired of waiting fled the capital Kathmandu for the surrounding plains.

Foreign countries have all escalated efforts to get medical equipment, medicine, food, water, blankets, tents and search-and-rescue teams into Nepal, but chaotic scenes at the main international airport have slowed the flow of aid.

Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport was hobbled by many employees not showing up for work, people trying to get out, and a series of aftershocks which forced it to close several times since the quake.

Aid workers at the Kathmandu airport were quoted by NDTV as saying that  they struggled to get planes to land and supplies off the runway because many workers have gone home to deal with relatives, and damaged homes.

“It’s a completely chaotic situation,” Devendra Singh Tak, who works for Save the Children told NDTV. “The airport is not equipped to manage this kind of traffic, particularly when there’s no staff.”

India and China were among the first contributors to an international effort to support Nepal’s stretched resources while the United States announced an additional $9 million in aid for Nepal, bringing total disaster funding to $10 million.

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said two C-17 U.S. Air Force transport planes carrying search-and-rescue personnel and supplies were headed to Nepal. Australia is also sending a C-17 to deliver disaster relief supplies.

Canada has also sent a C-17 military transport plane loaded with emergency supplies to Nepal and ordered 150 troops on standby to travel overseas to help earthquake victims.

The British government, which has pledged £5 million towards the disaster relief effort, said it would dispatch an RAF transport plane to Nepal carrying a team of Gurkha engineers, more than 1,100 shelter kits and over 1,700 solar lanterns.

But the authorities are struggling to cope with the aftermath. So even though relief aid has been pouring in, the government is overwhelmed with requests for help across the country, as everything from paramedics to electricity remain in short supply. Add bad phone lines, poor roads, lack of equipment and strong, repeated aftershocks to that and it gets really troublesome to even mount safety operations.

A report in Times of India says having no experience of dealing with such a disaster, Nepal has not been able to utilise resources at its disposal even though help has been pouring from across the world.

“In fact, the first team of doctors from India that landed in Nepal on Saturday, could not be deployed for 10 hours as Nepalese authorities could not figure out where to send them,” the report added.

Food and water shortages sparked anger across Nepal as thousands remained in the open even two days after the country’s worst earthquake in eight decades left 4310 dead and 7598 wounded, forcing Kathmandu to send out an SOS for more international help. The death toll could go much higher it turns out that vulnerable mountain villages — where information is still scarce and rescue workers are still struggling to reach — were hit hard.

Hospitals are almost overflowing, while water, food and power are scarce, raising fears of waterborne diseases. With aid slow to reach many of the most vulnerable, some Nepalis were critical of the government.

“The government has not done anything for us,” said Anil Giri, who was with about 20 volunteers looking for two of his friends presumed buried under rubble. “We are clearing the debris ourselves with our bare hands.”

On Monday, a group of people sheltered in the premises of the Constituent Assembly staged a  protest while confronting policemen demanding food and drinking water.

Amid the protest, some women cooked noodles for their children in the open. “Shops are shut. This is the last food item I have. We are suffering due to lack of food and water,” Rama Sharma told IANS.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Officials acknowledged they were overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster.

“The big challenge is relief,” Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudel, Nepal’s top bureaucrat was quoted as saying by AP.

“We urge foreign countries to give us special relief materials and medical teams. We are really desperate for more foreign expertise to pull through this crisis.”

As a report in Washington Post points out, ” the vast international relief mission that has whirred into motion has reinforced the image of a seemingly helpless Nepali state, dependent on outside aid.

The Nepal Army admitted that people in 19 places in Kathmandu were still waiting for rescue work to begin. “People in these areas are calling us but we have not been able to do that due to several reasons,” said army spokesman General Jagadish Chandra Pokhrel.

Another officer admitted that heavy equipment cannot enter many narrow lanes of Kathmandu where destruction to property has been heavy.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi monitoring India’s relief efforts, the Indian government reached out to the Himalayan nation whose Prime Minister Sushil Koirala admitted that operations following the devastating quake of Saturday were not effective.

The “rescue, relief and search operations have not been effective”, Koirala said. “The lack of development in institutions has had a severe impact in calamities management so that we couldn’t make it happen as we thought.”

The head of neighbouring India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), General OP Singh, said finding survivors and the bodies of the dead would take time.

NDRF Director General OP Singh said heavy equipment could not fit through many of the narrow streets of Kathmandu.

“You have to remove all this rubble, so that will take a lot of time … I think it’s going to take weeks,” he told NDTV late on Monday.

“All foreign teams are at the disposal of Nepalese Army and working under their operational command. We can’t go anywhere on our own. The result is things have not picked up as much pace and efficiency as they should in this situation,” another NDRF official told Times of India.

Nepal has declared 29 out of its 70 districts as crisis zones.

Few vehicles plied on the streets of Kathmandu. Domestic flights have been suspended since Sunday. Schools have been shut for five days, and courts for three days.

The situation is worse in remote rural areas. Highways have been blocked by landslides, and many villages and communities are without water and electricity, surviving on salvaged food and with no outside help.

With inputs from Reuters and IANS

#ThankYouPM rules on Twitter; Modi responds with ‘Seva Parmo Dharma’

A devastating earthquake struck Nepal on Saturday registering 7.9 on the Richter scale, leaving more than 3200 dead so far. India has stepped up and offered all the aid possible to Nepal. Sadly, what should be seen as India’s duty has now developed into the self-serving #ThankYouPM hashtag on Twitter.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AFPPrime Minister Narendra Modi. AFP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AFP

Why should we be thanking the PM? Yes, help was dispatched within hours of the disaster but shouldn’t that be our humanitarian duty to do so?

Yes, the government of India has so far done a stellar job in evacuating our citizens and providing Nepal with relief and aid, but the government is supposed to do a good job. Yes, they deserve a pat on the back but wouldn’t a better hashtag be #ThankYouIndianAidWorkers or #ThankYouIndianAirForce or even #ThankYouWorld.

The PM, however, was extremely modest on Twitter and noted that it is our culture that teaches us “Seva Parmo Dharma” or “It is our highest duty to serve others.” He also added that we should instead thank youngsters who are mobilising aid to Nepal, volunteers, doctors, NDRF teams and aid workers who are on the ground working hard to return normalcy to Nepal.

Live: Rains halt rescue operations in Nepal as death toll rises to 2,350

Apr 26, 2015

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A high-intensity quake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale on Saturday rocked many parts of east and north India, including Delhi. The epicentre of the earthquake was in Nepal.

Tremors were felt across eastern and northern parts of India, said JL Gautam, Head Operations Seismology of Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).

“Earthquake of magnitude 7.5 occurred today at 11.41 AM between latitude 28.1 North and Longitude 84.6 East. The epicentre was located in Nepal,” an IMD statement said. The magnitude was later revised to 7.9.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The tremors, which were felt in Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab, lasted for about a minute, triggering panic and forcing people to rush out of their houses and offices.

There were no immediate reports of loss of life or damage to property in Delhi, but several houses were damaged and reports of people being injured in Nepal.

PM Narendra Modi tweeted about the earthquake, saying the government was in the process of finding out more information.

ANI also reported that after the tremors, a stampede took place in Kutchery, Varanasi.

Officials said Metro train services in Delhi were also affected due to the earthquake. Mobile phone services in Patna were also reportedly affected.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar consulted his state administration and took stock of the situation. “Information is being collected from all districts. Everyone is on the field,” Nitish Kumar said.

Mild tremors were felt in various parts of Uttar Pradesh, triggering panic and forcing people to rush out in the open.

Etah, Farukkhabad, Mainpuri, Hathras, Aligarh, Varanasi, Sultanpur, Rae Bareli, Faizabad and Muzaffarnagar were some of the districts that experienced the quake.

In Rajasthan, the tremors were felt in Jaipur, Jhunjhunu, Ajmer, Sikar and Bundi.

In Jaipur, people in Bapu Nagar, Barkat Nagar, Sodala and Jhotwara rushed out of their buildings in panic. However, no loss to life or property was reported.

The tremors were felt in various parts of Kolkata, especially in Lake Town, Salt Lake, Dalhousie and Park street area.

“The tremors of the earthquake which had its epicentre in Nepal region was felt here in the city and other parts of the Eastern region. The magnitude of the earthquake on the Richter Scale is 7.5 . We are still waiting for more details,” DK Das , a senior official of Kolkata Meteorological department said.

Reports from the districts said it was also experienced in Purulia, Bankura, Burdwan, East Midnapore and Nadia district.

No loss of life or property was reported from anywhere in Haryana and Punjab, which also felt the tremors.

DG of Meteorological Department LS Rathore also said that aftershocks of 6.6 magnitude were felt following the initial tremors. MET Director GL Gautam called the earthquake a “massive earthquake”.

(With inputs from PTI)

Nepal quake: Parrikar assures prompt action from India

New Delhi: Assuring full help to Nepal in wake of the devastating earthquake, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today said all resources are being mobilised to help the Himalayan country.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTIDefence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

He said IAF has been pressed into service to take NDRF teams, doctors, clothes, medicines, water among others to Nepal, where nearly 700 people were killed after a powerful earthquake measuring 7.9 on Richter scale struck earlier in the day.

“As directed by prime minister, we have mobilised all resources to support Nepal. We have at present diverted three aircraft and two helicopters to carry NDRF team, doctors, food, water and medicine among others to Nepal,” Parrikar told PTI.

He added that Army chief General Dalbir Singh is in touch with his Nepalese counterpart to extend any help that the nation might need as part of search and rescue operations.

Talking about the situation in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and other affected states, Parrikar said he has directed all Army units and others to carry out rescue operation and extend full cooperation to local authorities.

As the news of the tragic earthquake in Nepal came in, the defence ministry had immediately put the Army, BRO and IAF assets on standby.

Indian Air Force’s C-130J Super Hercules has already landed at Kathmandu carrying 39 NDRF personnel and 3.5 tonnes of relief material.

Defence sources said two Indian Army field hospitals and two Engineers Task Force teams have been put on emergency standby to leave for Nepal.

A C-17 heavy jet aircraft with 40 rapid action medical team (RAMT) personnel and paramedics has also being pressed into service.

The army is also sending Major General JS Sandhu to Nepal to oversee Indian rescue efforts in the quake-hit Himalayan country, defence sources said.

Meanwhile, an Indian Army team which was on an expedition to Mount Everest recovered 13 bodies from the base camp.

The Indian defence establishment has till now sent over communication equipment, fuel, earth-moving vehicles and sniffer dogs, among others, to the neighbouring country to aid in the rescue efforts, sources said.

PTI

Live: Over 1,100 dead in killer Nepal quake, India mounts massive rescue operation

Apr 25, 2015

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A high-intensity quake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale on Saturday rocked many parts of east and north India, including Delhi. The epicentre of the earthquake was in Nepal.

Tremors were felt across eastern and northern parts of India, said JL Gautam, Head Operations Seismology of Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).

“Earthquake of magnitude 7.5 occurred today at 11.41 AM between latitude 28.1 North and Longitude 84.6 East. The epicentre was located in Nepal,” an IMD statement said. The magnitude was later revised to 7.9.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The tremors, which were felt in Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab, lasted for about a minute, triggering panic and forcing people to rush out of their houses and offices.

There were no immediate reports of loss of life or damage to property in Delhi, but several houses were damaged and reports of people being injured in Nepal.

PM Narendra Modi tweeted about the earthquake, saying the government was in the process of finding out more information.

ANI also reported that after the tremors, a stampede took place in Kutchery, Varanasi.

Officials said Metro train services in Delhi were also affected due to the earthquake. Mobile phone services in Patna were also reportedly affected.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar consulted his state administration and took stock of the situation. “Information is being collected from all districts. Everyone is on the field,” Nitish Kumar said.

Mild tremors were felt in various parts of Uttar Pradesh, triggering panic and forcing people to rush out in the open.

Etah, Farukkhabad, Mainpuri, Hathras, Aligarh, Varanasi, Sultanpur, Rae Bareli, Faizabad and Muzaffarnagar were some of the districts that experienced the quake.

In Rajasthan, the tremors were felt in Jaipur, Jhunjhunu, Ajmer, Sikar and Bundi.

In Jaipur, people in Bapu Nagar, Barkat Nagar, Sodala and Jhotwara rushed out of their buildings in panic. However, no loss to life or property was reported.

The tremors were felt in various parts of Kolkata, especially in Lake Town, Salt Lake, Dalhousie and Park street area.

“The tremors of the earthquake which had its epicentre in Nepal region was felt here in the city and other parts of the Eastern region. The magnitude of the earthquake on the Richter Scale is 7.5 . We are still waiting for more details,” DK Das , a senior official of Kolkata Meteorological department said.

Reports from the districts said it was also experienced in Purulia, Bankura, Burdwan, East Midnapore and Nadia district.

No loss of life or property was reported from anywhere in Haryana and Punjab, which also felt the tremors.

DG of Meteorological Department LS Rathore also said that aftershocks of 6.6 magnitude were felt following the initial tremors. MET Director GL Gautam called the earthquake a “massive earthquake”.

(With inputs from PTI)

IAF airlifts NDRF personnel, relief material to Nepal

New Delhi: Indian Air Force’s C-130 J Super Hercules aircraft today took off from the Hindon airbase here carrying NDRF personnel and relief material to Nepal in the wake of the devastating earthquake that has hit the Himalayan country.

An IAF CJ-130 aircraft.An IAF CJ-130 aircraft.

An IAF CJ-130 aircraft.

Defence sources said a C-17 Globemaster is being prepared for take off and will be carrying about 40-member strong Rapid Reaction Aero Medical Team and doctors besides relief material to the country after India assured Nepal of all help.

A 1L-76 transport aircraft will also take off soon with more National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) personnel on board.

After dropping the NDRF team, C-130 J will perform aerial recce to check road communication to Pokhara and return to Hindon, defence ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar tweeted.

The defence ministry has already put Indian Army, BRO and IAF assets on standby for any task in view of the earthquake.

Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation and Tourism Mahesh Sharma said Air India and IndiGo flights are ready for departure to Kathmandu for rescuing the stranded Indians.

“Three Air India flights and some Indigo are ready to take off but the Air Traffic Control in Kathmandu is closed. Once the ATC resumes operations these aircraft will start flying there,” he told PTI.

When asked about international flights bound for Kathmandu being diverted to India, he said the flights are being diverted to Delhi and some other airports close to the Nepal capital.

Asked whether stranded Indians would be rescued via roads, he said that option would also explored.

PTI

Kashmir floods Live: Ex-CM Omar Abdullah urges tourists not to cancel visit

Mar 31, 2015

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The Jhelum river on Monday crossed the danger level in Srinagar and Sangam area of South Kashmir with heavy rains lashing most parts of the state which sounded an alert asking people to move to safer places.

A senior official said water level of river Jhelum at 6 am at Sangam (South Kashmir) and Ram Munshi Bagh (Srinagar city) has touched 22.4 feet and 18.8 feet respectively. Danger level at Sangam is 21 feet and at Ram Munshi Bagh it is 18 feet.

People living on the banks of the river Jhelum have been asked to remain alert and advised to move to safer places. Old persons and children have also been asked to shift to specially set up camps, a government spokesman has said.

AFP imageAFP image

AFP image

He said all the employees deployed for flood control have been asked to report for duty immediately.

If the water level breaches 23 feet mark, the state will have to undertake a massive rescue operations and evacuate people from areas adjoining the river.

Flash floods triggered by incessant rain have damaged scores of houses, school buildings and other structures besides snapping road connectivity in the Kashmir Valley, an official said on Sunday.

“Over 80 structures, including residential homes, school buildings and other structures, have suffered damage due to flash floods since Saturday,” an administrative officer told IANS in Srinagar.

The Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was closed following landslides at a number of places on Sunday. The Srinagar-Gulmarg road was also closed after a bridge in Kunzar village was washed away by the swollen Ferozepur Nallah.
There was water-logging in many commercial and residential areas in Srinagar.

Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed took stock of the flood threat and reviewed the preparedness of the administration that has already been put on high alert.

The University of Kashmir has postponed all examinations scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

The Meteorological Department predicts heavy rainfall will continue for another six days, according to CNN-IBN. Around 300 people had died when flash floods had hit Jammu and Kashmir in 2014.

Meanwhile, 45 villagers are trapped in Poonch and the police and army personnel have been sent for rescue. “We are monitoring the sitaution,” a government official said.

DG NDRF also told CNN-IBN that there is no need to panic as they were working with government officials and everything was under control.

JVMC hospital, a government hospital on the outskirts of Srinagar, was waterlogged. Patients were being evacuated from the hospital. No casualties have been reported due to the floods so far, according to NDTV. Flood relief camps have also been set up in Srinagar.

with inputs from agencies

Kashmir floods Live: Situation in Srinagar under control, says Rajnath; death toll rises to 19

Mar 31, 2015

Highlights

  • 13:13(IST)

  • 12:43(IST)

  • 11:52(IST)

  • 11:23(IST)

  • 10:38(IST)

  • 10:34(IST)

  • 10:33(IST)

  • 08:50(IST)

  • 07:58(IST)

  • 07:54(IST)

The Jhelum river on Monday crossed the danger level in Srinagar and Sangam area of South Kashmir with heavy rains lashing most parts of the state which sounded an alert asking people to move to safer places.

A senior official said water level of river Jhelum at 6 am at Sangam (South Kashmir) and Ram Munshi Bagh (Srinagar city) has touched 22.4 feet and 18.8 feet respectively. Danger level at Sangam is 21 feet and at Ram Munshi Bagh it is 18 feet.

People living on the banks of the river Jhelum have been asked to remain alert and advised to move to safer places. Old persons and children have also been asked to shift to specially set up camps, a government spokesman has said.

AFP imageAFP image

AFP image

He said all the employees deployed for flood control have been asked to report for duty immediately.

If the water level breaches 23 feet mark, the state will have to undertake a massive rescue operations and evacuate people from areas adjoining the river.

Flash floods triggered by incessant rain have damaged scores of houses, school buildings and other structures besides snapping road connectivity in the Kashmir Valley, an official said on Sunday.

“Over 80 structures, including residential homes, school buildings and other structures, have suffered damage due to flash floods since Saturday,” an administrative officer told IANS in Srinagar.

The Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was closed following landslides at a number of places on Sunday. The Srinagar-Gulmarg road was also closed after a bridge in Kunzar village was washed away by the swollen Ferozepur Nallah.
There was water-logging in many commercial and residential areas in Srinagar.

Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed took stock of the flood threat and reviewed the preparedness of the administration that has already been put on high alert.

The University of Kashmir has postponed all examinations scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

The Meteorological Department predicts heavy rainfall will continue for another six days, according to CNN-IBN. Around 300 people had died when flash floods had hit Jammu and Kashmir in 2014.

Meanwhile, 45 villagers are trapped in Poonch and the police and army personnel have been sent for rescue. “We are monitoring the sitaution,” a government official said.

DG NDRF also told CNN-IBN that there is no need to panic as they were working with government officials and everything was under control.

JVMC hospital, a government hospital on the outskirts of Srinagar, was waterlogged. Patients were being evacuated from the hospital. No casualties have been reported due to the floods so far, according to NDTV. Flood relief camps have also been set up in Srinagar.

with inputs from agencies

Kashmir floods Live: Death toll rises to 17; Rajnath speaks to CM Mufti Sayeed

Mar 30, 2015

Highlights

  • 15:15(IST)

  • 14:31(IST)

  • 13:46(IST)

  • 13:42(IST)

  • 13:34(IST)

  • 13:15(IST)

  • 13:07(IST)

  • 12:51(IST)

  • 12:42(IST)

  • 11:38(IST)

The Jhelum river on Monday crossed the danger level in Srinagar and Sangam area of South Kashmir with heavy rains lashing most parts of the state which sounded an alert asking people to move to safer places.

A senior official said water level of river Jhelum at 6 am at Sangam (South Kashmir) and Ram Munshi Bagh (Srinagar city) has touched 22.4 feet and 18.8 feet respectively. Danger level at Sangam is 21 feet and at Ram Munshi Bagh it is 18 feet.

People living on the banks of the river Jhelum have been asked to remain alert and advised to move to safer places. Old persons and children have also been asked to shift to specially set up camps, a government spokesman has said.

AFP imageAFP image

AFP image

He said all the employees deployed for flood control have been asked to report for duty immediately.

If the water level breaches 23 feet mark, the state will have to undertake a massive rescue operations and evacuate people from areas adjoining the river.

Flash floods triggered by incessant rain have damaged scores of houses, school buildings and other structures besides snapping road connectivity in the Kashmir Valley, an official said on Sunday.

“Over 80 structures, including residential homes, school buildings and other structures, have suffered damage due to flash floods since Saturday,” an administrative officer told IANS in Srinagar.

The Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was closed following landslides at a number of places on Sunday. The Srinagar-Gulmarg road was also closed after a bridge in Kunzar village was washed away by the swollen Ferozepur Nallah.
There was water-logging in many commercial and residential areas in Srinagar.

Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed took stock of the flood threat and reviewed the preparedness of the administration that has already been put on high alert.

The University of Kashmir has postponed all examinations scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

The Meteorological Department predicts heavy rainfall will continue for another six days, according to CNN-IBN. Around 300 people had died when flash floods had hit Jammu and Kashmir in 2014.

Meanwhile, 45 villagers are trapped in Poonch and the police and army personnel have been sent for rescue. “We are monitoring the sitaution,” a government official said.

DG NDRF also told CNN-IBN that there is no need to panic as they were working with government officials and everything was under control.

JVMC hospital, a government hospital on the outskirts of Srinagar, was waterlogged. Patients were being evacuated from the hospital. No casualties have been reported due to the floods so far, according to NDTV. Flood relief camps have also been set up in Srinagar.

with inputs from agencies

Kashmir floods Live: 10 dead as houses collapse in Budgam; Rajnath speaks to CM Sayeed

Mar 30, 2015

Highlights

  • 14:31(IST)

  • 13:46(IST)

  • 13:42(IST)

  • 13:34(IST)

  • 13:15(IST)

  • 13:07(IST)

  • 12:51(IST)

  • 12:42(IST)

  • 11:38(IST)

  • 11:24(IST)

The Jhelum river on Monday crossed the danger level in Srinagar and Sangam area of South Kashmir with heavy rains lashing most parts of the state which sounded an alert asking people to move to safer places.

A senior official said water level of river Jhelum at 6 am at Sangam (South Kashmir) and Ram Munshi Bagh (Srinagar city) has touched 22.4 feet and 18.8 feet respectively. Danger level at Sangam is 21 feet and at Ram Munshi Bagh it is 18 feet.

People living on the banks of the river Jhelum have been asked to remain alert and advised to move to safer places. Old persons and children have also been asked to shift to specially set up camps, a government spokesman has said.

AFP imageAFP image

AFP image

He said all the employees deployed for flood control have been asked to report for duty immediately.

If the water level breaches 23 feet mark, the state will have to undertake a massive rescue operations and evacuate people from areas adjoining the river.

Flash floods triggered by incessant rain have damaged scores of houses, school buildings and other structures besides snapping road connectivity in the Kashmir Valley, an official said on Sunday.

“Over 80 structures, including residential homes, school buildings and other structures, have suffered damage due to flash floods since Saturday,” an administrative officer told IANS in Srinagar.

The Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was closed following landslides at a number of places on Sunday. The Srinagar-Gulmarg road was also closed after a bridge in Kunzar village was washed away by the swollen Ferozepur Nallah.
There was water-logging in many commercial and residential areas in Srinagar.

Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed took stock of the flood threat and reviewed the preparedness of the administration that has already been put on high alert.

The University of Kashmir has postponed all examinations scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

The Meteorological Department predicts heavy rainfall will continue for another six days, according to CNN-IBN. Around 300 people had died when flash floods had hit Jammu and Kashmir in 2014.

Meanwhile, 45 villagers are trapped in Poonch and the police and army personnel have been sent for rescue. “We are monitoring the sitaution,” a government official said.

DG NDRF also told CNN-IBN that there is no need to panic as they were working with government officials and everything was under control.

JVMC hospital, a government hospital on the outskirts of Srinagar, was waterlogged. Patients were being evacuated from the hospital. No casualties have been reported due to the floods so far, according to NDTV. Flood relief camps have also been set up in Srinagar.

with inputs from agencies

Live: River Jhelum crosses danger level in Srinagar, Sangam; horrors of floods return to haunt Kashmiris

Jhelum river has crossed danger level in Srinagar and Sangam area of South Kashmir with heavy rains lashing most parts of the state which sounded an alert asking people to move to safer places.

Vehicles wade through a water-logged road after Srinagar received heavy rainfall on Sunday. Met office has predicted more rains in coming days.

PTI
Specter of last year’s devastating floods has returned to haunt the people in the Kashmir valley. Heavy rains pounded several areas of Kashmir damaging many houses and led to closure of Srinagar-Jammu national highway because of landslides. Rains since yesterday has resulted in damage to at least 44 structures, including 18 houses, due to landslides in Chrar-e-Sharief area of Kashmir, officials said.Jhelum river today crossed danger level in Srinagar and Sangam area of South Kashmir with heavy rains lashing most parts of the state which sounded an alert asking people to move to safer places.A Joint Control Room has been established comprising f representatives of Police, CA&PD, R&B, Flood Control, PDD, Municipal Council, Fire & Emergency Services, & Mechanical Engineering Departments.Latest Updates:10:06 IST Monday, 30 March 2015Heavy rain triggers landslide10:00 IST Monday, 30 March 2015According to reports, PM Modi has sent a high level team of officials along with MoS for Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi to assess flood like situation in Kashmir.09:50 IST Monday, 30 March 2015Speaking to ANI, NDRF DG OP Singh said, ” Four teams are on stand by and there is nor need to panic. Water logging has taken place in some areas, but there is no flood like situation. We are fully prepared and proactive.” Jhelum river has crosses danger level in Srinagar and Sangam area of South Kashmir
A senior official said water level of river Jhelum at 6 AM at Sangam (South Kashmir) and Ram Munshi Bagh (Srinagar city) has touched 22′.4 feet and 18′.8 feet respectively. Danger level at Sangam is 21 feet and at Ram Munshi Bagh it is 18 feet.People living on the banks of the river Jhelum have been asked to remain alert and advised to move to safer places. Old persons and children have also been asked to shift to specially set up camps, a government spokesman has said. 100 NDRF personnel to rush to Kashmir Valley
Two NDRF teams comprising 100 personnel will be rushed to Jammu and Kashmir as part of contingency measures in the wake of the flood alert in the state.The two National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, comprising 50 personnel each, will take an early morning IAF plane tomorrow from Bhatinda in Punjab to Srinagar.”We are pre-positioning two of our teams in the Kashmir Valley in order to combat any situation in the wake of flood alert.All precautionary measures have been put in place, says DCM Dr. Nirmal Singh
Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh on Sunday assured there was no need to panic in the wake of heavy rains in the Kashmir, as the government was on full alert.”The state administration is on full alert in the wake of heavy rains in the Valley. The situation is being monitored continuously,” Singh informed the Assembly here after members from different parties raised the issue of the flood threat.”People should not panic and assured that all precautionary measures have been put in place,” he said.221 families evacuated to safer places
The government has evacuated 221 families to safer places due to heavy rains causing soil erosion and landslides triggered by heavy rains in Budgam district of the state.State Agriculture Minister Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura today told the Assembly that due to the continuous downpour various areas of Budgam have been affected by way of land erosion and landslides and 221 families have been shifted to safer areas.The minister said 221 families of Chillan Chotinar, Tilsara, Charar-e-Sharief, Nilnag Nagam, Watkloo, Ladden, Bringan, Nego, Hangoo Suresyar, Kumar Mohalla Nagam, Freswar Khansahib, Shalinar Khansahib, Kristwar Chadoora, Suresyar and Branwar villages evacuated.10 kg rice has been provided to the each affected family, besides it has also been ensured that all basic amenities are provided to them.He said the district administration, under the supervision of the deputy commissioner, is taking stock of the situation.Agencies on alert
All agencies including Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), Urban Environmental Engineering Department (UEED), Fire and Emergency service are on the job and have been told to remain extra alert.Meanwhile, DGP K Rajendra Kumar has directed all ranks of Jammu and Kashmir Police to extend their help to the civil administration and public.

Authorities ignore tell-tale signs of disaster: Expert

BMC, govt yet to realise gravity of Mumbai’s vulnerability to landslides, earthquakes

Most disasters show tell-tale signs before they take place, but local authorities and residents tend to ignore them. This was what an expert said on disaster management, a talk organised as part of the Indian Science Congress at the Kalina campus of Mumbai University on Tuesday.SS Thigale, former head of geology department at Pune University, explained it in terms of a landslide. “Landslides are predictable hazards. We had collected data on 90 landslides which took place in different parts of Maharashtra. There are clear signs such as developing of cracks on the slopes and tilting of vertical objects like trees and poles,” Thigale said, adding that many of them are a result of levelling of slopes, cutting of trenches on the rocks, felling of trees and construction of houses there, which adds weight.The 17 landslides that took place in the Konkan region in 1983, which followed the Koyna earthquake of 1967, had shown such signs. “Yet nobody took it seriously,” he added.Surprisingly, even the recent landslide in Malin that claimed 150 lives had been showing such signs since 2003. Thigale had prepared a comprehensive report on Malin and some of the surrounding villages and sent it to the Union government through an NGO much before the disaster took place. But the government had failed to act on it.Mumbai, too, is prone to disasters like earthquakes and landslides. The speakers unanimously agreed that Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation as well as the state government are yet to realise the seriousness of the situation.Shailesh Nayak, secretary, union ministry of Earth Sciences, said, “Municipal and local bodies have an important role to play when it comes to disasters. They should assist the NDRF team and have a strong communication channel.”V Subramanyan, former professor of geology, IIT-Bombay, said that despite BMC framing a comprehensive plan for disasters in 2002, the 2005 deluge showed the plan had not been implemented. “Even after that the BMC is yet to ensure the disaster preparedness of Mumbai. Despite having so many landslide-prone spots in the city, the BMC only issues notices to residents staying there and says the land belongs to the collector,” he said.Subramanyan added that the civic body should instead use a part of its budget to stabilise slopes, construct more retaining walls and inspect buildings to check if they are earthquake resistant.”The state government and NGOs should chip in to create awareness among city residents about different types of disasters,” said Subramanyan.Mumbai and its surrounding areas is prone to earthquakes of magnitude ranging from 6.2 to 6.5. The BMC has identified 321 landslide-prone spots in the city and commissioned IIT-Bombay to prepare a report on it. Landslide-prone spots in cityThere are 321 landslide-prone spots in Mumbai, of which 94 are located on collector’s land, six on Mhada land, 31 on BMC land, 188 on private land and 2 on forest land. N-ward has 43 such spots on collector’s land, P-North has 14 on private land, S-ward has 150 such spots on private land.

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