Srinagar: Authorities today asked residents in flood-affected areas of Kashmir to carefully observe their houses over the next three months as there was a possibility of earth sinking due to movement of water under soil.
"There is a possibility of earth sinking due to movement of water under the soil. The residents in flood-affected areas, particularly those where water logging was for long periods, should be careful," Chief Engineer Roads and Buildings Department Satish Razdan told reporters here.
He said the next three months are critical and residents of flooded areas should observe their houses for any cracks, which can lead to collapse of the structure.
"Most structures look fine from appearance but there is possibility of cracks and collapses as the soil is super-saturated with water post flood," he said.
Razdan cited the example of Dawood Khaki bridge in Baba Demb area, saying some part of the bridge sank several days after the flood water had receded in the areas.
"Same is the case in Pulwama where some part of a bridge sank in six days after water receded".
The official said his department, which is mandated with certifying the safety of the buildings in flood-affected areas, gave priority to hospitals and were now focusing on schools.
"We gave priority in checking the safety of hospitals. Only 15 per cent of SKIMS Hospital at Bemina was declared unsafe while rest is safe for use again," he said.
Razdan said there were thousands of school buildings in Kashmir affected by the floods and it will take a long time to ascertain safety of these buildings.
"Our engineers have multiple tasks at hand.They are part of the loss assessment teams also.It will take long time to certify all the schools affected by flood," he said.
Razdan said his department has formed five teams for the purpose of certifying safety of buildings in flood-hit areas.
Giving details of the losses in Roads and Buildings sector, the Chief Engineer said nearly 600 bridges an culverts were damaged in the floods.
"Of these, 181 structures including 54 bridges have collapsed completely," he said.
The official said nearly 1700 km of road length has been damaged or washed away by the floods last month.