Amarnath Cloud Burst: Army became an angel in the flood, jawans rescued five people alive from the rubble

Pankaj Prasad
Amarnath Cloud Burst
Amarnath Cloud Burst

Airlifted 109 passengers in 65 flights including 63 injured.

The bodies of 16 people, who were hit by the cloudburst incident near the Amarnath cave, have been recovered. The sixteenth body was recovered from Lower Sangam on Saturday. Five of the dead have been identified. Of these, three were from Rajasthan and two from Delhi. During the rescue operation, five people buried under the rubble were pulled out alive with the help of through-wall radar. Radar detects the position below ground by vibration. More than 40 passengers are still said to be missing. Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force has also joined the rescue work. In view of this incident, the journey has been temporarily stopped. Pilgrims on the Baltal route wait for the yatra to begin.

In the ongoing rescue operation from Friday evening, till around 4 am on Saturday, 15,000 passengers have been shifted to safer places around the holy cave and through the yatra route. On Saturday, 109 people including 63 injured were airlifted. Seven bodies were also brought by helicopter. 65 flights were carried out by four Mi-17 V5 and four Cheetal helicopters of the Air Force. No passenger was allowed to travel on the traditional Baltal and Pahalgam routes on Saturday. 

Meanwhile, a batch of 6047 pilgrims was dispatched from the base camp Bhagwati Nagar, Jammu with tight security. On Sunday also, a rescue operation will be conducted around the holy cave to find the missing passengers. 

Military officials said that in the rescue operation, Mountain Rescue Teams and Lookout Patrol Party personnel are looking for the missing people with through-wall radar, thermal imager, night vision equipment. The injured are being shifted to the hospital by army helicopter. Some teams have been deployed to restore the travel route completely. More than 6 thousand passengers are staying in Baltal. 

Similarly, there is a gathering of thousands of devotees at Nunwan Pahalgam base camp. Arrangements are being made to transport the passengers who have been safely evacuated from the holy cave to their destination. The injured are being given proper treatment. An official said that the number of missing people is more than 40, but it is possible that the mobile phones of these missing people have run out of battery. These passengers are being traced with RFID cards.  

The deceased have been identified as Mohan Lal Badhawa and Sunita Badhawa both residents of Ganganagar Rajasthan, V Ramati (62) resident of Ambedkar Nagar Madanjir, South Delhi, Prakashi (57) resident of Madanjir Ambedkar Nagar and Sushil Khatri resident of Rajasthan A-1 Mansarovar Sriganganagar is deposited up to six feet. 

The water that came from the top of the Amarnath cave brought mud and stones with it. Due to this, up to six feet of debris has accumulated near the drain. It is being told that the debris has caused more damage. Many people have died due to being buried under the rubble. The same debris is becoming a hindrance in the search for missing people.

The scars of destruction are spread far and wide

The traces of the devastation caused by cloudburst near the holy cave of Baba Barfani are clearly visible on the second day on Saturday. Huge stone pieces and rocks, bags of passengers, phones, tents and anchor items are scattered everywhere. Although the rescue work was started immediately after the incident, but on Saturday, the soldiers of all paramilitary forces including Army, BSF, NDRF, SDRF again engaged in the rescue operation from 4 in the morning.

Heavy rains at local level caused floods, no cloud burst in holy cave: IMD 

According to the Meteorological Department (IMD), excessive local rains led to a flood situation near the holy Amarnath cave in south Kashmir, while no cloudburst incident has been recorded there. According to meteorologists, there was 31 mm of rain around the temple between 4.30 pm and 6.30 pm on Friday, which is very less and does not fall in the category of cloudburst. 

IMD Director General Mrityunjay Mohapatra told that the incident of heavy rain is classified as a cloudburst. If 100 mm of rain falls in an hour, it is called a cloudburst. The IMD has an automated weather station set up near the Amarnath cave which provides weather forecast during the pilgrimage. However, there is no station to monitor the weather in the surrounding mountains. The event was simply a highly localized cloud over the Holy Cave that brought heavy rain. 

Sonam Lotus, director of the Meteorological Center Srinagar, told that earlier this year also the area above the Amarnath cave had received 28 mm of rain. Cloudburst is very difficult to predict. Such forecast weather information requires state-of-the-art weather equipment. At the same time, Meteorology is issuing forecast information of the travel route of 2-3 hours, so that the journey can be made more safe in terms of weather.