Srinagar flooded, internet connectivity snaps

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Srinagar, Sep 8: Flood waters on Monday inundated most of Srinagar's residential and commercial areas as people scrambled to save whatever they could from the muddy, swirling waters.

Mobile coverage was patchy across the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir while there was no internet connectivity.

An estimated 70 percent of Srinagar was inundated for a second day Monday.

Water entered shops in the main business hub of Lal Chowk and Residency. Desperate shopkeepers tried to retrieve their goods from the flooded shops.

The death toll in the worst floods in Jammu and Kashmir in over 50 years is said to have crossed 150. However, information is patchy from remote areas now made inaccessible by the flood waters.

The radio and television stations were shut Sunday after flood waters entered the installations.

The authorities appeared ill equipped to battle the terrible calamity but did all they could in the circumstances.

Mobiles went on the blink as private telecom service providers said their towers were badly damaged.

Waters entered the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) headquarters on Maulana Azad Road, forcing its closure.

There was no internet connectivity in the Kashmir Valley.

The only communication tool still up and running is the police wireless system.

Except for inter-district connectivity between Srinagar and north Kashmir's Ganderbal district, all other districts of the valley including Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian, Badgam, Baramulla and Bandipora were cut off.

The air force Monday airlifted 70 boats as seven teams of the National Disaster Response Force struggled to save the flood victims.

Soldiers did a herculean task, rescuing the marooned. The navy deployed marine commandos.

The Srinagar-Jammu highway as well as the Srinagar-Leh highway remained closed for the fourth day Monday.

The floods have hit petrol availability in Srinagar. All petrol pumps were practically running dry, prompting pump operators to ration the fuel to just one litre for each vehicle.

All educational institutes have been shut. All Haj flights to Saudi Arabia have been cancelled till Sep 12.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who reviewed the flood situation Sunday, has called it a national disaster.

The silver lining is that there was sunshine in both the valley and Jammu region, with the weather office saying there would be fair weather for the next four days.

The water level in all mountain streams and seasonal drains has gone down.

But the Jhelum river, which caused maximum devastation, is still flowing above the danger mark.

IANS

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