This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Mayank Jain. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Kashmir Floods: Thousands Missing In The Worst Floods In 5 Decades, Here”s How You Can Help

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By Mayank Jain:

UPDATED: 12th September, 2014

“No helplines are working, I am struggling to enquire about the wellbeing of my family as they are stranded somewhere. The water is pouring from all sides and there is no way to contact them and I have not slept since last night because I have been waiting for their call,” Idhries told us how disturbed he is about the wellbeing of his parents who are stuck in Kashmir right now.

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Five days of torrential rainfall have turned the state of Jammu and Kashmir into a submerged wreck of life and property. The floods currently wrecking havoc in the state are the worst since last 50 years and the situation is nowhere under control. Indian administered Kashmir is worst hit with almost 175 people having lost their lives by now and several thousand displaced. The situation has not only impacted India administered Kashmir but the Pakistan occupied Kashmir has been hit as well. Areas of Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan as well as Punjab have also been affected. More than 160 people are feared to have lost their lives in Pakistan.

Picture: Unal Farooq
Picture: Unal Farooq

The rains started around 2nd September 2014 in J&K and adjoining areas and the uncontrollable downpour triggered flooding, landslides and collapse of buildings. Jhelum river is already flowing above the danger mark in Srinagar and Chenab river in Pakistan is overflowing as well. Parts of central Punjab have been drowned.

Picture: Abid Warsi
Picture: Abid Warsi

According to initial estimates, the discharge rate is almost thrice the normal rate of 25000 cubic meters second, at 70000 cubic meters per second. Cause of the flood is said to be the rainfall itself which led to flood barriers breaking off and water entering the streets. Hospitals, schools, offices and even channels of communication have been disrupted. People have taken to Twitter and whatever radio communication they can find near them to report the current events as even the Army is struggling to enter some areas which are heavily submerged in water.

Response and Relief

The Indian Army has already deployed around 18000 personnel and Indian Air Force is working in tandem with 29 planes. Helicopters have been deployed as well. 50 tonnes of supplies including food, water and medicines have been delivered to ground zero and boats are being brought from all parts of India to rescue and help people reach safer areas.

By now, 13000 people have been evacuated from various areas by the Army and IAF. The Prime Minister has offered complete assistance with a relief fund of 10,000 crore. He took an aerial survey of the affected areas and extended help to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) as well. Similar assistance has been announced by Madhya Pradesh, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and he has urged other states to come forward and help.

Inadequacy of Relief Efforts

Even as the government and non governmental agencies have sprung into action to offer support and relief, any hope of safely evacuating everyone and re-establishing communication channels with the affected areas remains a far cry.

Asma Shah, who lives in Leeds, United Kingdom has her family along with 7 other related families trapped in the valley and she is doing the most she can by calling for volunteers online and spreading information since there is no possibility of knowing about the on ground information in real time.

Complaining about the carelessness on the part of authorities, she says “In our case, no warning was given. No flood alert was relayed and immediate evacuation didn’t happen. In time rescue efforts could have helped mitigate the calamity that it has become now. Also, we hear there are no boats or rafts even now with the Army or any authority, to help evacuate people.”

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Similar sentiments have been echoed by many other people who also blame poor infrastructure for the calamity. Flimsy barriers which broke off and let the water loose into streets are being questioned by those affected.

“If precautions would’ve been taken earlier, situation wouldn’t have been so grim. People were not well aware. The areas affected by the flood are mostly districts in south Kashmir which include Anantnag, Pulwama, Baramulla, Sopore and people here weren’t aware of how worse things could turn out to be. It was the government’s duty to make sure that people would vacate these areas before Jhelum started overflowing. Jhelum flows above the danger mark in these areas,” Saima Hussain whose friends and family are stuck there, told us.

How You Can Help

Social media has again proved invaluable in spreading information and disseminating latest happenings. Twitter is abuzz with the hashtag #KashmirFloods carrying real time reports, pictures and survivor stories while Facebook is proving useful in sharing news of missing families and bringing conversations at one place.

A Facebook page to organize and mobilize volunteers has come up and people are actively donating and interacting to help in whatever way possible.

Another way to help is by sending in boats, as described to by Suvaid Yaseen. “I got a call from a self-help group for Kashmir flood victims saying that the only thing that they require as of now are boats. People are stranded in large numbers and the only thing they are lacking is rescue, which might be possible through boats.

The only way which seems doable as of now is to buy them in Delhi and send them by air tomorrow to Srinagar. From Srinagar airport people will manage to get them. We are trying to look for places where we can buy rafting boats,” he says.

Donations can also be made directly to Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for search and rescue operations. You can also check out this list of requirements and dispatch them with the fastest possible channel to the affected areas. See the list of collection points here.

Goonj has also started the Rahat Floods Campaign to collect support from people. You can have a look at the details here.

Google and Government of India have together launched a person finder tool which reports on the probable locations of those missing here or on SMS using the following query:
SMS “search ” to 9773300000.

Asim Banday and few other volunteers are collecting ABSOLUTE ESSENTIALS like medicines, blankets, drinking water, life
jackets, boats to help mitigate the calamity of Jammu and Kashmir flooding. Please contribute. You can contact them at:
Asim: 9810122333
Suhail: 9805963322
Azhar: 9650015317
Nisar: 9910988365

For the Indian Army’s official list of rescued persons, please visit their official page here.

Krishna Das points out that Aircel and other network providers have tied up in J&K and you can switch to Aircel 3G from any SIM by going to Settings>Network>Manual Search and the network will work on all SIM cards.

In case you are aware of any other relief efforts please post here and we will compile it into this post. Please share this across all of your networks to ensure all help reaches those who require aid as swiftly as possible.

You must be to comment.
  1. Pandita

    Thanks…. Mayank…… for publishing this piece…..

  2. pravin

    please do the needful , by making temporary shelters
    such as tamboti, tent , tarpaulin
    http://www.tarpaulinrk.com

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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