Water sucks life, thousands marooned in J-K

  • Tarun Upadhyay, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Sep 11, 2014 10:50 IST

Water flowing in the Jhelum and moving leisurely in the Dal Lake which pulls in lakhs of tourists from all over the places, has sucked the life of the Srinagar city.

The city is still marooned. The sense of the enormity of the disaster could just be seen outside the Srinagar airport in Budgam district and relatively safe and dry, where thousands are lined up waiting to be airlifted.

"I was stranded for four days at Mehjooor Nagar on top floor with my friends. We made a makeshift boat by pulling down a table and tying it with electric wires. We pulled it with the help of hanging wires. I have left whatever cash and don't know if I will ever be back here," said Mohammad Islam, 32-yr from West Bengal, who works as an electrician here.

He is waiting to be airlifted, but is not certain when his turn will come up.

"I am myself not able to connect with 90% of my cabinet colleagues," said chief minister Omar Abdullah, who is personally monitoring the situation with his team.

To cope with the scale of disaster is much beyond the resources of the state, a fact admitted by the CM. The army and air force are working literally on war footing to extend the help. But even they are facing the heat.

"At Nehru helipad, there are thousands of people waiting to be airlifted. People are lined up in 5-km-long queue to get food. We had to virtually close door by pushing out more incomers. The people are so desperate that they are even picking up fight with us and sometimes manhandle our staff," said an IAF official, wishing not to be named.

"A young couple with four-year-old kid survived for three days just on water as they couldn't stand in such long queue for food. But, we ourselves are helpless," said the official.

With limited supply of boats and inability of the army to reach out every one, the people themselves are pooling in resources and extending help.

At a local mosque in Budgam district, people from nearby villages who are not affected, are sending food, vegetables and even water to a makeshift relief camp. People here are even collecting cash and are running langars.

"I want to help people in dire straits by whatever way I could. I don't want to just sit in home and see people helpless," said Tahir Basheer, a 5th class student, peeling onions along with his schoolfriend at the mosque.

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