At least six persons were killed and twelve injured were rescued after a cloudburst wreaked havoc in Thathri town of Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir this morning, inundating vast areas along the Batote-Kishtwar National Highway, washing away half a dozen houses and leaving several persons trapped.
Search and rescue operations are underway in the area which has witnessed heavy rainfall this monsoon.
"Flash flood triggered by cloudburst hit Thathri town at 2.20 am resulting in a massive increase in the level of the 'nullah' flowing along the Jamai Masjid locality close to the town" a police officer said.
Dy SP (headquarters) Doda, Iftkhar Ahmed, said the water level and silt suddenly rose in the drain after the cloudburst, washing away several structures along its path leading to the main market.
The extent of damage could not be immediately ascertained.
"We cannot assess the exact loss of life or property immediately as we are in the middle of rescue operations trying to save those still trapped under the debris. As of now, a 12-year-old boy has been rescued," Ahmed said.
Several others were still under the debris and causalities could not be ruled out, he said.
"The entire district administration along with the police and Army have started rescue operation on a war footing," the police official said.
"We have rescued five members of a family and a 12-year- old boy, who was shifted to a hospital in Thathri. Three members of a family are still feared to be under the debris and we are trying to remove the debris to rescue them," said Pervaiz Ahmed, Tehsildar, Thathri.
The Batote-Doda-Kishtwar National Highway (NH1B) was closed due to huge boulders at Thathri market triggered by the cloudburst. Water supply pipes and power supply remained snapped in the area.