The state government’s helpline system, and numbers which were expected to function during the disaster have failed the people on the ground as residents allege that except the army and they themselves the state is functioning in absentia in Srinagar.
Residents allege that there have been no warning from the officials even as Jehlum water crossed the danger mark, and menacingly breached the embankments at two places this flooding the city and many parts of Jawahar Nagar, Gogji bagh, Wazirbagh, and nearby areas of Srinagar.
A large number of tourists have also been stranded as there are a number of hotels in the area. With water rising 12 to 15 feet many tourists were seen stranded at the rooftops, and second storey of the houses getting only assurances but no help. A feeling of sinking houses, and guest houses also spread among those stranded thus causing further tension. The local residents, and hotel workers agree that the things have been quite rough but they said that situation has become more tough in the absence of local government response.
Officials at Srinagar’s flood control room have been inundated by calls for help but they are diverting the messages to the nearest police station to ensure a rescue. But knowing how our systems work even during normal conditions it can be safe to assume that these callers would not be finding much help from the officials.
As per rough estimates there are 15,000 tourists in the city, and the irony is that the tourism minister himself is said to be stranded. What has peeved the residents most is the lack of any warning about impending flooding in Srinagar, and in Kashmir valley. People have been frantically calling the flood control department but no one has come to help them. In fact they allege that government officials kept on telling them that water levels would reduce by the evening but in reality the situation went totally opposite, and the result is that no evasive action could be taken.
Badami Bagh Cantonment, Indira Nagar, Shivpora, Sonawar, Hari Singh High Street, Qamarwari, Shaheed Gunj, Zainakote, Kakasarai and the roads leading to the Civil Secretariat, fire and emergency services and the police control room are submerged under water.
Till the last reports came in almost 23,000 people have been rescued, and hundreds of tonnes of relief material have been distribued. The authorities are trying to get the major roads, and state highways back in working condition but the situation has remained grim. The army officials are also trying to restore the telephone network working as it has telecom equipment has been airlifted to the valley. Medical camps have been set up but all hopes are now based on how long it takes the water level to go down.