Saturday turns out a day of frantic calls in Valley
Saturday turned out to be a day of tsunami of frantic calls for help, unattended SOSes from the thousands of water-bound stranded people, resorting to social networking sites and radio messages, amid the state machinery looking overstretched in the Kashmir Valley.chandigarh Updated: Sep 06, 2014 20:46 IST
Saturday turned out to be a day of tsunami of frantic calls for help, unattended SOSes from the thousands of water-bound stranded people, resorting to social networking sites and radio messages, amid the state machinery looking overstretched in the Kashmir Valley.
"Around nine families are huddled together in the attic on the third floor of a house at Astanpora colony in (south Kashmir) Awantipora. They have lost connection with us after water took over its two floors. Please send an Air Force team to rescue them," said one of an SOS sent by their relatives through media.
This was one of the thousands of SOSes shared on various mediums in the Valley on Saturday as flood conditions worsened with rains showing no mercy all day and previous night witnessing heaviest rainfall, according to the meteorological department.
Hundreds of people were taken by surprise floods on Saturday when the Valley's main river Jhelum breached at several places in south Kashmir's Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and peripheries of Srinagar.
According to eyewitnesses in Pulwama district, water rose from a few feet to more than nine feet in just hours. More than 5,000 people battled to save their lives all day, according to preliminary assessment.
Dozens of bridges were washed away, leaving people stranded in forest areas and upper reaches in Budgam and Kangan areas, where another river Sindh saw unprecedented deluge of four feet since morning after a cloudburst.
"Please send boats to Awatipora's Padgamporan area in half an hour. Otherwise, we will all die," says a post written on Facebook from a local, as the government grappled to provide proper rescue response in freshly submerged areas.
"We are short of boats. Boats acquired from the CRPF and tourism department too have been pressed into service. Highways are closed and boats cannot be ferried. We request people to share their shikaras (boats) with each other please," said Srinagar deputy commissioner Farooq Shah, while praying to Allah to show mercy.
He said half of Srinagar's 14 lakh population is affected by floods, with two of the city's hospitals under water. Hundreds of villages remain cut-off and thousands of people stranded in Central and south Kashmir, bearing the brunt.
The 60% water schemes in south Kashmir remain affected. The 30% of Srinagar and a major portion of south Kashmir, with 16 assembly segments, remains without electricity after several receiving stations remain under water.
With no electricity and no mobile phone, young among the stranded people in Kulgam had to brave dangerous water currents to put out SOS from the area. In majority of the areas, locals are plugging embankments themselves with the administration failing to cooperate with the magnitude of problem.
A senior officer in the divisional commissioner's office admitted to not been able to attend every SOS on Saturday.