High and loud, exactly a year ago, the flood knocked at a sleeping Srinagar city, with all its might. 6th of September the last year made us realise how much of competent we were to deal with a natural disaster like this. With the black-out of communication lines and paralysing of Government Machinery the hope for a quick relief and rehabilitation was diluted.
In Kashmir Floods It was the citizens of Kashmir, the youth, with their undefeatable courage and unsurpassable will-power who despite all odds stood as a primary force of response in the time of deluge. The handful of micro-minority was the first to respond to it.
As a matter of fact the response of Sikhs was a pro-active rather than reactive. It was a three-tier effort. Rescue, Relief, Rehabilitate.
They, even before the invasion of water, stepped into the locality of Mehjur Nagar and Aluchi Bagh and helped people evacuate and shift their belonging to upper and safer storey of their houses.
As the Srinagar city lay drowned underwater and people struck in their houses it was a handful of Sikh youth of Rangratte village that proved instrumental in bringing out truck-loads of people from the banks of Mehjur-Nagar, Jawahar Nagar, Tulsi Bagh and the vicinity of Rambagh and Chanapora.(including a team of students stranded at Indoor Stadium) They made boats of foam and empty tin-barrels to rescue people on their own.
As a primary relief centre the gates of Shaheed-Bunga Gurudwara at Baghat Barzulla, were thrown open. The grim night brought thousands of sobs and cries along with the tales of adversity of those who were rescued.
More and more homeless and water-stricken people poured into the Gurudawara camp; irrespective of religion. Even the sanctum-sanctorum, the main hall of Gurudawara was opened for the flood victims. Thousands of people were stranded at the Gurudawara for the first two weeks. For the first two weeks around 2800kg of rice was being served per day excluding vegetables and pulses to supplement it. The camp continued to serve the people for around three months.People were served meals three times a day after which they went to their relatives for shelter. 14 trucks of bottled-water were brought in from Jammu and Punjab and distributed.
Primary kits of survival (including water, biscuits, baby food, packets of chappatis and lentil) were then packed and sent home to home. The untrained youth risked their lives distributing these kits in neck-deep water. They would take big steel drums and syntax water-tankis full of these kits, and pull them afloat on water and distribute the same to people who were still at homes.
The Gurudawara also served as the biggest medical camp in the time of deluge. More than 30000 patients were recorded to enlist for treatment, vaccination and other medical facilities. The Gurudwara also started Mobile medical camps at Bemina, Tengpura, Lasjan, Hyderpora and several other places. The camp also sent out medicines to various camps and even hospitals when they needed it the most. Medicines worth millions of rupees were distributed with proper prescription by in-camp doctors. Insulin and other diabetic medicines were the major drugs among them.
SGPC, DGPC and several other Sikh organisation including Khalsa Aid, Sikh Relief, United Sikhs distributed more than 30000 family starting kits(including clothes, blankets, ration for a month and other important items). Hundreds of trucks of relief material were sent in from Punjab and Delhi Sikhs to help the victims at the gory time. After the water receded they went home to home, irrespective of religion, to distribute these kits. Several truck-loads of material were handed over to speratist as well as mainstream political leaders for distribution among the people of the state. likewise material was alsonprovided tonseveral NGO’s and Mosques serving as relief camps.
Post flood, the youth did not stopped, they become instrumental in rehabilitation and went into the water to fetch out the dead bodies of 14 deceased people from the city areas of Jawahar Nagar and Rajbagh, which were cremated with due legal formalities, and some were handed over to police.
The handful of micro-minority proved highly effective and provided the much needed relief and rehabilitation to an enormously huge mob. They took complete strangers to their homes for shelter and food. In the times when nears and dears were equally effected they indiscriminatingly lend out help to the first soul that came across.
It was their unbiased and self-less response to the deluge which went un-praised and unsung at the time of commemorating the Heroes of flood. Let us thank the community with this article and celebrate their participation in the time of adversity; the time of September 2014 Floods in kashmir.