" Thed Srinagar-Jammu national highway, Srinagar-Leh national highway and the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road have been closed to traffic."
Srinagar, Sep 5 - Hundreds of people abandoned their homes and fled to safety as the flood situation worsened in the Kashmir Valley Friday.

The flood situation became serious with unprecedented heavy downpour continuing in the region for the fourth day Friday.

The administration here is finding it difficult to reach the inundated areas.

Reports from all the 10 districts of the Kashmir Valley indicate hundreds have abandoned their homes in inundated areas to shift to safer places.

Electric supply in most areas of south Kashmir districts remains suspended because of uprooted electric poles and apprehensions of accidents due to electric short circuits in water logged villages and towns.

Drinking water facilities in more than 500 water supply schemes have also been disabled because of water logging and electricity failures across the valley.

Sonam Lotus, director of the local Met Office, told IANS that the weather would start improving from Friday afternoon.

However, heavy rain in the catchment areas of Jhelum river has so far submerged more than 100 villages in the south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian, Pulwama and the north Kashmir districts of Ganderbal, Srinagar and Badgam.

In Srinagar district alone, over 70,000 residents in low-lying areas have been affected as flood waters have entered their homes and agricultural fields.

Both the Lidder stream in south Kashmir and the Sindhi stream in the north are flowing above the danger mark, inundating dozens of villages.

Jhelum river was flowing at 34 feet at Sangam in Anantnag district Friday morning - 11 feet above the danger mark. At Ram Munshi Bagh in Srinagar, the river was flowing at 24 feet, which is six feet above the danger mark.

Flood control department officials said at three places in Srinagar district the floods waters are overflowing the river's embankment.

This is posing a serious threat to areas coming under the direct impact of this overflow, said a senior engineer.

Flood waters have already entered Mehjoor nNgar, Bemina, Barzalla, Gulshan Nagar, Natipora, Channapora, Sant Nagar, Shah Hamadan colony and some other residential areas in Srinagar city.

So far, four people have died in Kashmir due to floods, which many believe is the worst to hit the valley during the last 50 years.

We had a very serious flood in the valley in 1992, but given the sheer magnitude of the damage done by the present flood and the rise of water levels in Jhelum river and its tributaries, the present flood has revived the horrors of 1959 flood in Kashmir, said Master Ghulam Nabi, 71, who lives in Ganderbal district.

All educational institutions have been closed till Monday by the authorities who have also suspended Haj flights from Kashmir to Saudi Arabia till Sep 8.

Thed Srinagar-Jammu national highway, Srinagar-Leh national highway and the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road have been closed to traffic.

Kashmir Divisional Commissioner Rohit Kansal told IANS Radio Kashmir has suspended all routine broadcasts and is now continuously airing only flood related news and messages. The top priority of the state government now is to prevent loss of human lives, he added.


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