More than 10 breaches in the embankment of the Jhelum river within a span of 10 hours have caused devastation in Srinagar, yet even after six days the government has failed to plug these breaches, causing water stagnation within the city.
These breaches have left the city’s business centre, Lal Chowk, and the posh localities of Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar, Tulsi Bagh, Indira Nagar and Shivpora completely submerged. Though the water in the river has started to recede, it continues to flow into residential areas, submerging some houses under nearly 15 feet of water.
The breaches in the embankment at Abi Guzar and Kursoo areas on Sunday morning have left the large residential areas inundated, with water levels in some parts rising up to 30 feet.
“This breach is still open. Nobody from the government has bothered to visit this place,” says Javid Ahmad, a local volunteer at Kursoo Rajbagh. “There are three more breaches within a 1 km radius from where water is still flowing into the city.” he adds.
To cross these breaches in the absence of any government machinery, local volunteers have set up wooden poles, poplar trees and ropes.
“It is very dangerous to cross these breaches. But people are taking the risk so they can reach Jawahar Nagar, Solina and other parts of the city…I will also try to cross as I have to find my uncle’s family, whose house has been submerged,” says Arshid Ahmad who has travelled here from the old city.
Even women who have given birth during the floods in the Lal Ded hospital have been crossing these breaches along with infants.
Even civilian relief volunteers and rescue teams are being forced to use these routes to reach flood-affected victims as there are no boats available.
“We are trying to reach flood-affected victims by crossing the breakaway portion of the river bund. We have to reach the victims with relief,” says Ejaz Ahmad, a relief worker who has travelled here from Central Kashmir’s Char e Sharief town.
A senior official in the Flood Control and Irrigation Department said that plugging of leakages in the river is the first job that has to be undertaken. However, he adds that since everybody, including his employees, have suffered, it will take time to plug these leakages.