In Pictures: Relief Efforts In Flood Hit Jammu And Kashmir

Posted on September 22, 2014 in Environment, Politics

By Mayank Jain:

The state of Jammu and Kashmir is reeling under possibly the worst crises of the century. The waters have started to recede, but #KashmirFloods have wreaked havoc with life and property in the state, and has caught attention of the world. As the bodies are being discovered, there is an even bigger humanitarian crisis waiting in line to be tackled with. More than 200 people are dead and hundreds are missing, channels of communication have been destroyed or disrupted.

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The urgent need for the community at large right now is for support, rehabilitation, and reconstruction. According to reports by Oxfam:
‘More than 2,500 villages affected, out of which 450 villages are completely submerged. More than 300 villages are completely cut off. Reports indicate that South Kashmir districts are the worst affected with over 30% of Srinagar inundated due to the breach in the embankment of River Jhelum in several places.’

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Areas such as Anantnag, Pulwama and Shopian have lost all contact with bridges and roads. In Jawahar Nagar and Rajbhag areas, the water level is noted to be between 10-15 feet. In Jammu, more than 1,000 villages have been affected by the flood waters. Rajouri and Poonch districts are the worst affected as a large number of bridges and roads besides power installations have been damaged.’

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The damage has also brought diseases and health hazards with it due to spillage and spoilage of multiple substances in the flood waters. Conditions like nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite, because of the stink from the dead livestock in the flood waters have been reported. An acute shortage of cooking gas and other basic amenities is also fueling the crises with lack of response centers at the state itself and transportation from adjacent states is taking its time.

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As the state attempts to recover to normalcy, the assembly remained suspended due to water logging. Many parts of Srinagar city remained under darkness due to damage to electricity poles even as efforts are being made to carve out crevices in the valley which can drain away the water. The water might recede further in the coming days but it will take years of reconstruction and rehabilitation to restore the glory of the state to what it was before the disaster struck.

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Villagers of Gulzarpora have meanwhile alleged that no relief work has reached them and they have termed themselves as the “unfortunate lot”. The anger is fast rising up in the community as government’s efforts are proving to be inadequate in fighting the natural disaster. The crops as well as shelters of 3000 people in the village have been destroyed by the floods, which was followed by torrential rains and 15 days after the tragedy struck, they are still waiting for help from the government.

In the vein of community solidarity, multiple NGOs including Oxfam, Unicef, Goonj etc. have taken up the task of relief work and they have been running campaigns all around the country to collect funds for rehabilitation and support to the affected areas.

“The locals from the nearby villages of Rengipora, Badriwan, Banderpora, Tahab and others rescued us. We caught hold of the television cables to wade through 8-10 feet of waters,” a local, Ghulam Nabi Hajam said.

Similar sentiment has been observed among people from the affected regions who have risen up to help their neighbors as well as far flung areas where formal help is taking some time to reach. As a first response mechanism, the local population has started ferrying people to safer areas, lending out food and medicine supplies in whatever measure they can and rebuilding efforts have already begun in some areas of Srinagar.

There are many ways to help as listed in a previous post here but the urgent concern is that of nutrition, hygiene and sanitation. You can extend help in cash, kind or awareness efforts as well.

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