" Home Minister Rajnath Singh Thursday spoke to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah over phone and promised him all possible help to meet the challenge posed by the present unprecedented floods."
Srinagar, Sep 4 - Twenty people have died in floods across Jammu and Kashmir in the last two days while hundreds of people have been forced to leave their homes due to incessant rains in the worst such situation in 50 years.

State Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir said the rain has caused extensive damage to the paddy crop in the Kashmir Valley.

This is the worst flood situation in the valley in the last 50 years, Mir told reporters after visiting flood-affected areas in Baramulla district.

Four people were killed in floods in the valley in the last two days while 16 others lost their lives in Reasi, Rajouri, Poonch and Kishtwar districts of Jammu region, authorities said here Thursday.

Hundreds of residents in more than 70 villages and low-lying areas have been forced by flood waters to shift to safer locations.

The state government has declared a high alert in all 10 districts of the Kashmir valley, seven districts in Jammu region, and the two districts of Kargil and Leh in Ladakh.

At least two dozen residential areas in Srinagar have been inundated by flood waters, forcing residents to abandon their homes.

Officials said the worst damage has been caused in Anantnag, Kulgam and Baramulla districts.

Dozens of bridges, government buildings and houses have been washed away by floods.

The flood control department said the water level of the Jhelum river at Sangam in Anantnag district has crossed 30 feet -- seven feet above the danger mark, while the river was flowing four feet above the danger mark at Ram Munshi Bagh in Srinagar.

Incessant heavy downpour continued Thursday, and there would be little respite from the present inclement weather till Saturday, Met office director Sonam Lotus told IANS.

We are expecting a decrease in precipitation after Saturday evening, he said.

The Chenab river and all its tributaries in Jammu region were also flowing above the danger mark as heavy downpour continued for the third consecutive day.

The Srinagar-Jammu and the Srinagar-Leh national highways have been closed for traffic because of landslides and flash floods at a number of places.

Haj flights from the state to Saudi Arabia have been cancelled for three days due to the floods.

All educational institutions have been closed till Monday. The University of Kashmir has also postponed all examinations till Monday.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh Thursday spoke to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah over phone and promised him all possible help to meet the challenge posed by the present unprecedented floods.

All district magistrates and superintendents of police were camping at flood control rooms at the district headquarters to monitor the situation and respond to emergencies.


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