A winter of discontent and devastation: Kashmiris unprepared for cold days ahead


Srinagar-Jammu highway remains closed

Srinagar: Mushtaq Ahmed, a 34-year-old father from Arigatnoo village in the Kashmir Valley’s Kulgam region, points towards a heap of rubble and heaves a deep sigh. Until last month, this was his home.

The deluge that followed the incessant rains in the Valley has washed away everything – homes, crops, fruit trees, schools – leaving a trail of devastation and taking over 200 lives, as per official estimates.

“I have no idea where to start from. All that remains is this rubble and I have no money to rebuild my home”, Mushtaq said.

Relief efforts by government agencies, private and non profit bodies continue; however, given the conditions prevalent, this is proving to be more and more difficult.

Tanveer who is part of the emergency response team at the Srinagar office of ActionAid India, a humanitarian organisation providing relief to the affected people in the Valley, believes that the next couple of weeks will prove crucial for relief efforts as the temperature continues to dip.

“The temperature is already down to 7-8 degrees in the night. What we especially worry about are areas like downtown Srinagar, Mehjoor Nagar, Chatabal and Bemina which have a high population of poorer families, migrant labourers from other states and those working as drivers, shikara operators and the like, dependent on the tourism industry,” Tanveer said.

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