Srinagar: Tawheed Bazaz, 35, a resident of this Jammu and Kashmir summer capital, had a premonition that the flood waters which had inundated the city centre, Lal Chowk, early last Sunday, would also reach their Mandir Bagh locality. “It came true just hours later as the muddy flood waters made their first appearance in our locality that evening after having inundated the posh areas of the capital,” Tawheed said.
As the family sat for dinner, he told his father and mother that they must all move out before it was too late as water had begun entering the locality.
Even Bazaz’s neighbours had advised them to shift to the nearby bakery building. However, Tawheed’s father advised his son to stay calm and not to press the panic button. “Flood waters have never entered our area. I have lived here all my life.”
“Late that evening I again went out and this time the water level was going up fast. I rushed in and took my father and mother upstairs. I thought we will be safe on the first floor.
“Suddenly there was a frightening thud and as I opened the window to see what had happened, I saw gushing flood waters entering our front yard and in no time inundated our first floor. The water level continued to rise menacingly and finally we decided to take shelter in the attic. I thought we were safe now,” Tawheed said.
“We were awake whole night and thought our story will be over with few more feet of water. I was really concerned about my parents. My wife and children had gone to my in-laws home in (uptown) Rawalpora three days back.
“My wife was worried and because of the breakdown of the telecommunication links we couldn’t talk. I got few calls from my friends that night who told me that the posh localities of Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar, Gogjibagh, Wazir Bagh, Lal Chowk, Maisuma and adjoining areas had all been inundated and that thousands were marooned. This added to our tensions.
Because of their efforts so far over 234,000 people have been rescued from different parts of Jammu and Kashmir, according to a defence spokesman.
“Eighty transport aircraft and helicopters of Indian Air Force and Army Aviation Corps are continuing their efforts in rescue and relief operations. The army has deployed around 30,000 troops for rescue and relief operations in the flood-affected area.
“So far, 2,451 sorties were undertaken by the helicopters and aircraft of armed forces and 3,435 tonnes of relief material has been dropped by the Indian Air Force. A total of 224 boats of Army and 148 NDRF inflatable boats are actively involved in the rescue operation,” the spokesman said.
It was not only the capital city that bore the brunt of the floods, south Kashmir districts in Kashmir valley and the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri too were badly hit by the incessant rains.
“No one came to rescue us. They were busy in the posh areas of the capital city rescuing people. The administration should concentrate on other areas too as people are in dire need of safe drinking water and eatables,” said Abdul Rashid a resident of Mehjoor Nagar.
“Our house has collapsed now due to the floods. We have nowhere to go,” Tawheed said. He is very frightful of another challenge of nature, the fast approaching winter.
“They are promising us the moon, but I doubt the relief will reach the poor. The influential people will get the promised relief, but the same reaching the poor and people without connection is doubtful with uncontrolled corruption in the government having already touched the peak,” said Maqsood Ahmad, a resident of flood hit Rambagh area.