Jammu: Faced with the worst floods in Jammu and Kashmir in half a century, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday said air-lifting of marooned people may begin tomorrow if weather improves even as South Kashmir remains completely cut-off.
“We have not been able to touch South Kashmir. One NDRF battalion has been air-dropped at Awantipur airport because we could not transport them from Srinagar. So, we are trying to send them to affected areas. Two more battallions have been sent to Pulwama,” Omar said speaking to media persons here.
Emphasising that the state administrative machinery had swung into action soon after getting warning from the meteorological department, the Chief Minister said the magnitude of the problem was such that efforts were not proving to be sufficient.
“We just need one break of weather. Our helicopters are on standby at Jammu and Srinagar. As soon as we get that break from bad weather, we will start air-lifting people and providing them with relief material,” he said.
The Chief Minister said the state is facing shortage of boats to rescue people marooned in over 300 villages which have been cut-off completely.
“We have arranged every possible boat, about 250-300, available in Srinagar and surrounding areas and put them into service. But one must understand the magnitude of the situation as about 300 villages are completely cut off,” he said.
The Chief Minister said although every possible effort is being made to rescue people, bad weather and limited resources are major hindrance faced by the state administration.
“At some places, people did not cooperate. They did not pay heed to advice of state officers to relocate them. Now it has become difficult to rescue them because of bad weather and floods,” he said.
The Chief Minister said the state needs medicines, blankets, tents and clean water and once water recedes efforts have to be made to prevent outbreak of any epidemic.
Omar said he was not concerned whether the Centre declares it a national calamity or not “as long as they fulfil promises made to us”.
Thanking the forces for their efforts, Omar said army, airforce, NDRF and SDRF, state administrative officials have all pitched in the rescue measures.