Massive landslides hit Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, March 27, 2020, damaging a 500 m (1 640 feet) stretch of the Jammu-Srinagar national highway. This resulted in the closure of the highway, which continued on Monday, March 30, stranding hundreds of vehicles. 28 houses were also affected in the district of Ramban, leaving hundreds of families homeless. Moderate to heavy rain with thunderstorms and strong winds are forecast across Jammu and Kashmir over the next 24 hours.
The highway was closed on Friday after heavy rain sparked landslides, with stones shooting from the hillocks in Panthyal, Monkey Morh, Mehar, and other areas in the Ramban area.
A 500 m (1 640 feet) stretch of the 270 km (168 miles) highway caved in, making it difficult to restore the traffic in an earlier period, said officials.
"No vehicular movement was possible on the highway today," said Ajay Anand, deputy superintendent of police in Ramban.
"We are monitoring the situation and the restoration work is on to repair and restore the highway. It will take several days to repair the highway."
Boulders and debris had eventually been cleaned up by the road maintenance company in some places between Nashri-Ramban and Banihal. However, blockades at Monkey Morh and Dhalwas were yet to be cleared.
The national highway, which is the valley's only surface link with the rest of the country, remained closed for the fourth consecutive day on Monday.
Meanwhile, incessant rains triggered another huge landslide in the Dhalwas village, affecting 28 houses that left 40 families homeless. According to Ramban's additional deputy commissioner Ashok Kumar Sharma, the families will have to be relocated to safer areas in nearby schools.
"At least 15 houses have suffered extensive damages while the rest 13 houses have suffered partial damages," he added.
A team of officers and rescue crew from police and paramilitary forces promptly responded to the village. The district administration is conducting all necessary arrangements to assist the families, Sharma noted.
President of Jammu Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari urged the government as well to provide immediate assistance to the families affected.
The assistance asked from the government include compensation and rehabilitation in terms of cash, free ration, medicines, and other necessities.
"The administration should also immediately identify proper shelters and facilitate shifting and accommodating of the rain-affected families of other areas of Ramban district too while strictly following the social distancing advisories issued by the health department," said Bukhari.
The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was blocked at over a dozen places by landslides triggered by heavy rains in Ramban district, leaving hundreds of trucks carrying essential commodities to Kashmir stranded. pic.twitter.com/ikssKxKVny— JAMMU LINKS NEWS (@JAMMULINKS) March 28, 2020
Featured image credit: Deputy Commissioner Ramban