At Sempora, cry for help grows louder
Breach in Jhelum embankment cuts off Srinagar-South connectivity
A group of women cried aloud at Sempora Chowk—a vital link connecting people of South Kashmir with Srinagar. They had managed to reach the spot on the Srinagar-Jammu highway after travelling for three hours from a hamlet in Pulwama district.
“My mother is sick and I wanted to take her to the SMHS hospital in Srinagar,” said a lady. “We managed to shift her from Kakapora village in Pulwama after it submerged due to incessant rains last night.”
The women were inquiring how they could reach Srinagar. “The entire road from Sempora to Pantha Chowk is inundated,” a group of men told them. “The only way you can reach Srinagar is if an Army boat passes by and ferries you people.”
The women cried louder after seeing the body of a man being fished out from a nearby river and taken for identification.
As the women cried for help, a number of army boats passed by the spot. One of them was provided to the women to ferry the ailing lady to the Srinagar hospital.
Sempora has been witnessing chaotic scenes ever since the main road on the highway submerged following breach in the river embankment. The flood waters entered the nearby Naaz Colony causing damage to several houses besides overturning some vehicles. “The second floor of my house is under water. It happened in the wee hours of Thursday,” said Gulzar Ahmed, a local resident. “We were evacuated in the boats pressed into service by the locals. A few boats were sent by the district administration, but they were not sufficient given the enormity of crisis.”
“The district administration should have sent more boats to the area given the massive breach in the river and the consequent damage,” locals said. “The Chief Minister Omar Abdullah should personally visit the spot and ensure speedy rescue operations. This is a vital road link that can’t be allowed to remain submerged. It is affecting people, especially patients who want to visit Srinagar hospitals from South Kashmir.”