Cloudy conditions and rain returned to flood-devastated Srinagar on Sunday morning, setting off panic among people and worrying officials. The clouds cleared later but the region’s topmost army officer told HT that heavy rainfall in Kupwara posed a risk to Baramulla, a large town north of Srinagar.
“(There was) very heavy rainfall in Kupwara. This adds to the water level of the Jhelum. By implication, this will raise water levels in Baramulla, where water is flowing five feet above the danger mark,” said Lt Gen Subarata Saha, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps. He added that the situation in Srinagar had “well transitioned” from rescue to relief. “Nobody is marooned any longer strictly speaking,” he said.
But with houses, streets, cars deep under water and public utilities, such as power and telephony missing, people’s woes are overflowing. A week after one of the state’s worst floods struck, hundreds of Srinagar residents have found shelter at the dargah of Sheikh Hamza.
Brides with bright mehendi on their hands, infants a few days old who have never known the comfort of their homes, pregnant women praying that they don’t get into premature labour, and old men, women and children huddle under blankets at the shrine.
Tears in her eyes Rubina (name changed) from the upmarket Jawahar Nagar is hardly the shy bride she was two weeks ago. When water moved into her second-floor bedroom and swept away her trousseau, she was distraught. “Everything my parents saved perhaps from the time I was born vanished. We were stranded for days before locals came to rescue us. I left everything and just came out with my husband,” she said.
A little ahead is a nameless month-old infant. His mother, recovering from a C-section, is worried about her husband and in-laws with whom she lost all contact a week ago. “I was at my mother’s place, my in-laws are from Bemina. I have no way of reaching them,” said Nighat Jabeen.
A few kilometers away Muzaffar Ahmad Wani is transporting the sick to hospital in his old gypsy. “The government or any politician is nowhere to be seen,” he said. “Ninety percent of Kashmiris were rescued by locals. Even 11 days after the floods, lakhs of people are stranded. We are on our own.”