As the flood waters recede in Srinagar, speculation on the number of the dead is rising. A news agency on Saturday said that the bodies of 14 children were found in the GB hospital. Health authorities have said a few infants died owing to waterborne diseases but the 300 patients were rescued and sent to the army hospital at Badami Bagh.
There were also unsubstantiated reports of bodies flowing into Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.
But doctors and other experts fear that the death toll will spike due to the water-borne diseases which follow floods, rather than the floods themselves.
Within a week, Srinagar has turned into a garbage dump.
Rejected relief material can be seen floating in the Jhelum with the carcasses of animals. Packets of bread, milk powder and bottles of drinking water float on the muddied waters even as the army, volunteers and NDRF ferry up and down the river trying to provide aid.
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“It is disease that will claim more lives than the floods. The contaminated water has given rise to problems like upper respiratory tract infections, dermatitis and diarrhoea. We are trying to provide primary first aid through mobile vans,” said Dr Abdul Haseeb, an MD from SKIMS, who along with five other doctors have pooled medicines and funds to run mobile clinics in affected areas.
Even as the civic woes are piling up, the National Disaster Management Authority is yet to figure out how to pump out the excess water from the flooded parts of the city. Suction pumps from Vishakapatnam will be used to suck the water out and dump it in a water body – most likely the Jhelum or its canals.
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Broken highways and flooded main roads have led to immense chaos as people are now finding it very difficult to move from one place to the next.
And to make matters worse, law and order is under siege. Incidents of thefts are being reported from houses, especially those in the more affluent parts of the city.
Groups of angry youth can be seen asking locals to refuse food and other supplies.
The lack of electrical supply and the breakdown of communication and telecom networks and facilities has only worsened the situation.
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