History of floods mark Kashmir Valley with the Jhelum river overflowing every 50 years and submerging Srinagar and the surrounding villages as it happened this time with more than 400 people killed and 2,000 villages marooned.
Kashmir floods do repeat every 50 years, according to a report published in Greater kashmir, said citing a 2010 report that forewarned imminent floods any time in the state. The report by the Jammu and Kashmir Flood Control Ministry warned of a catastrophe to hit Srinagar city. “Srinagar is likely to submerge in water, due to a major flood in next five years.”
Any major flood catastrophe would discharge water of around 150,000 cusses if floods hit Srinagar city, submerging the historic city, the report warned, naming most parts of the valley from Khannabal (Islamabad) upto Khadinyar (Varmul) to be hit by the flood. “The Srinagar-Jammu highway may be washed away, leaving the Valley cut-off from the rest of the country”, the assessment said. “The Indira Gandhi Road leading to Airport will also be submerged, cutting the aerial access to the Valley as well”.
The report in Greater Kashmir, quoting sources, said the flood control department had proposed a Rs.2,200 crore project to build the basic infrastructure and then Prime Minister had reportedly assured Rs.500 crore with an initial instalment of Rs.109 crore. “We have some pictures available in our department showing one floor of famous British hotel of Srinagar submerged in water which clearly depicts the situation at that time”, Taj Moinuddin, then flood control minister told Greater Kashmir.
Here is a timeline of floods in Kashmir valley, including the neighbouring Ladakh region:
879 AD – The landslides of the Khadanyar mountains below Baramula block the channel of the Jhelum river, submergin the valley, according to Walter Roper Lawrence’s book, “The Valley of Kashmir” (1895).
1841 – Another major flood on record hit the Kashmir Valley, wrote Lawrence, that “caused much damage to life and property.”
1893: A major devastating flood hit Kashmir following 52 hours of continuous and warm rainfall, beginning 18 July, with 25,426 acres of crops, 2,225 houses damaged and 329 cattle killed.”
1903: The “greatest flood ever known” hit the valley and Srinagar on 23 July 1903, converting the city into “a lake”.
1929: Another major flood hit the Valley affecting the region that is today Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
1948: Immediately after independence, the Valley was hit and Nehru acceded the demand for an imported dredging machine to desilt the Jhelum river.
1950: In September 1950, another major flood hit the state, with loss of lives recorded at 100 with more than 15,000 houses damaged.
1957: In August-September of 1957, another major flood hit the region and the entire valley was submerged in water.
1959: In July the state witnessed another massive flood following four days of incessant rains with the water level of the Jhelum River touching 30.25 feet, six points above the danger mark.
1992: With a record rainfall and landslides since 1959, the 1992 floods left 200 people killed and over 60,000 evacuated on Indian side of the valley while on the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir side, the death toll was heavier at 2,000 deaths.
2010: In an half-an-hour cloudburst in Ladakh on 6 August 2010, the devastation was enormous and many buildings in the city of Leh were damaged and Ladakh was cut off from the rest of the world for over a week. About 250 people were reported dead in the floods.