New Delhi: At least 13 people were reported dead and nearly 40 feared trapped or missing after cloudburst led to flash floods in the lower reaches of Amarnath cave on Friday. Following the calamity, the pilgrimage has been suspended till the situation returns to normal.
According to Pahalgam police, a cloudburst was reported at around 5.30 pm and rescue operations by NDRF, SDRF, Indian Army and other associated agencies were underway. The Indian Air Force’s assistance was also called for. The IAF assets including helicopters and personnel were kept on standby to launch rescue and relief operations at the Amarnath cave site.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh said that he is “in constant touch with the UT administration. The SDRF and NDRF teams have promptly swung into action to provide all possible relief and assistance.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief at the incident as he also assured of all possible aid to those affected. “Anguished by the cloud burst near Shree Amarnath cave. Condolences to the bereaved families. Spoke to @manojsinha_ Ji and took stock of the situation. Rescue and relief operations are underway. All possible assistance is being provided to the affected,” he said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah directed central forces and Jammu and Kashmir administration to ensure swift operations to rescue people affected in the cloudburst near the base camp of Amarnath holy cave.
Vijay Kumar, IGP Kashmir, said some langars and tents have come under cloudburst and flash floods near the holy cave.
Many tents were washed away amid the sudden flow of water, but forces responded promptly and were able to rescue some people from being washed away, said ITBP PRO Vivek Kumar.
“At around 5.30 pm heavy rainfall was happening, suddenly huge flow of water came. Cloudburst happened in the upper reaches of Amarnath cave. Agencies were alerted. There were tents at the site, people were taken out within 10-15 mins,” he said.
Videos from the site of disaster showed water flowing down turbulently after the cloudburst.
WATCH: More visuals from the site of disaster near Amarnath shrine