A cloudburst near the Amarnath cave in Jammu and Kashmir caused at least 16 deaths and more than 40 people missing.
A cloudburst-caused flash flood that surged across south Kashmir near the revered cave sanctuary of Amarnath killed at least 16 people and engulfed tents and communal kitchens with mud and debris that were racing down a mountainside.
According to a representative of the union territory administration, the Amarnath yatra, which had been scheduled to start on June 30, had been postponed due to the tragedy and that a decision regarding its continuation will be made once the rescue efforts were complete. On August 11, the yatra was supposed to be over.
According to a local authority, 65 people have been hurt and another 40 individuals are still missing. According to reports, this year’s Amarnath Yatra has attracted more than 65,000 pilgrims. However, the yatra from Baltal and Pahalgam base camp has been temporarily suspended by the authorities.
Rescue team on alert after Amarnath tragedy-
Six rescue teams, including helicopters, have been deployed, according to the Northern Command of the Indian Army. Rescue attempts are also being supported by teams from the J&K police, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
Three base hospitals, Upper Holy Cave, Lower Holy Cave, Panjtarni, and other facilities, are caring for all the injured.
More than 6,100 Amarnath pilgrims, in the tenth batch, recently departed Jammu on Friday for the twin base camps of the 3,880-meter-high cave shrine of Amarnath in the south Kashmir Himalayas. According to reports, a convoy of 249 cars carrying a total of 6,159 pilgrims departed the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in this location under the strict supervision of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
After the flash flood, some 15,000 pilgrims were left trapped close to the Amarnath sacred cave and have now been relocated to Panjtarni’s lower base camp, according to an ITBP spokeswoman. At the BSF camp established in Panjtarni on Friday night, another 150 yatris had spent the night.
The first group of devotees embarked on the yatra under heavy security on June 29, marking the beginning of the pilgrimage. The number of pilgrims visiting the temple this year is expected to be between 6 and 8 lakhs, which is around twice as many as in any previous year, according to Union Information and Broadcasting Secretary Apurva Chand.
Strict security controls have been implemented-
In response to a potentially increased threat from extremists this year, the government has placed 3–4 times the regular strength of security troops surrounding the yatra. To further secure the security of the pilgrims, RFID tags and drone surveillance are also being deployed.
The Amarnath cave is only accessible on foot or by pony and is located approximately 3,900 meters above sea level. It may be reached by the Qazigund-Anantnag-Pahalgam and Qazigund-Anantnag-Pulwama-Srinagar-Bandipore-Ganderbal-Sonmarg-Baltal axes. It is situated deep inside the Himalayas.
Although there are two ways to go to the cave, most visitors choose the Baltal path, which is a shorter 16 km hike that takes 1-2 days to complete from Baltal to the shrine via a treacherous, winding mountain trail.
The second path is the Pahalgam route, which takes 3-5 days to complete and is roughly 36–48 kilometers from the cave. Even though the travel is longer, it is a little easier and less steep.
Helpline for Amarnath Yatra-
A helpline for the Amarnath Yatra had been established by the Jammu and Kashmir government. Four phone numbers were distributed by the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) and the Lt Governor administration so that people may learn more about the cloudburst.
“NDRF Helpline Numbers: 011-23438252 011-23438253 for Amarnath Yatra Shrine Board Helpline: 0194-2313149 Kashmir Division Helpline: 0194-2496240 “Both the SASB and the government’s public relations division tweeted from their separate accounts. The government is focusing on the rescue effort with the NDRF, SDRF, JKP, and other teams working together, “the executive branch noted.