18 more bodies recovered from flood-ravaged Kashmir

Two bodies were recovered from the badly hit Jawahar Nagar area of the Srinagar uptown while as 13 more people are feared dead under the debris.
While government officials weren’t available for the official confirmation, the volunteers who have been actively involved in recusing people from various areas said at least 18 bodies had been recovered from the flood-hit Kashmir Valley.
According to a rescue team headed by Muhammad Shafi Bhat of Jamaat-e-Islami, the situation in Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar, and Mehjoor Nagar areas was grim.
He said they were on a rescue mission to this area and found out two bodies of non-locals, who had been living in Jawahar Nagar in House No 354.
“They are originally from New Delhi. That is what the neighbouring households told us,” Bhat told Rising Kashmir at Gurduwara Bangla Sahab, Sanat Nagar, where the bodies have been kept for last rites.
The identity of the duo could not be ascertained.
However, according to locals from Jawahar Nagar, they were a father-daughter duo that was living in the house as tenants for some years.
“We initially evacuated people from other areas and then found out that House No 354 collapsed. We barged into it and found the two bodies,” said Bupinder Singh, a rescuer.
Kashmir valley was hit by a massive flood, the worst ever in a century on September 6.
The government and administration were caught unawares with government failing to use its machinery to sound a red alert for evacuating the people from the low lying areas of the Valley.
Public address system was not used to alert the population and most people living in the danger zones slept without knowing the dangers of staying put in their habitations.
According to reports, newborn babies were buried at the Bund side of River Jhelum after a devastating flood swept through Srinagar on September 7.
The breakdown of the telecommunication network across Jammu Kashmir has added to peoples’ miseries.
Locals and professionals working on the ground have been struggling to connect to the relatives and the administration.
“The breakdown of landline network and mobile networks has added to our worries,” said a flood victim, Muhammad Zaman of Rajbagh area.
He remains stationed at Sanatnagar relief camp.
While government continues to remain missing from the ground, locals were pooling money and other resources to set up relief camps in different localities of the city, which were not touched by the flood to run Langars (community kitchens) for the affected families.
Masjids, schools and other government and private buildings have been turned into shelter homes for the sufferers.
Volunteers from rural area like Budgam, Ganderbal, Hajin, Langate, Handwara, Shopian, Kulgam and remote areas like border village of Tangdhar in Baramulla bring relief material including rice, water, milk and vegetables to distribute among the affected families.
“We have been supplying relief material to different localities in the city for the past four days,” said Nazir Khan, a volunteer working with Arnimaal NGO. “It is our duty to help our brethren in this hour of crisis.”
As almost all the major hospitals of the city catering to patient rush from every corner of Kashmir have been either closed down or are functioning partially, locals and some volunteer groups run by journalists, senior citizens, and NGOs have been catering to the various areas of flood-ravaged Kashmir.
A conservative estimate of the damage to public infrastructure like bridges, roads, hospitals and other government buildings in Jammu Kashmir due to the worst floods it has faced in more than a century pegs the losses over Rs 6000 crore, according to the Secretary to the State government’s Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Department, Vinod Kaul.
Kaul had said in a presentation made to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh during his visit to the state last week that the estimated damage to public infrastructure was pegged at around Rs 1,000 crore. However, at that time, Srinagar city was still unaffected by the floods.
The damage is widespread in Srinagar as the floods had hit most government facilities there, he said.
Meanwhile, Sunita Narain, Director-General, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), has blamed a combination of factors, including unprecedented and intense rain, mismanagement, unplanned urbanisation and a lack of preparedness for the unprecedented downpour and the subsequent devastation caused by the deluge.

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