SRINAGAR: With the state government absent from the scene and the efforts of the Indian army questioned by public, providing relief to the flood victims in the Kashmir Valley has become job of the civilians working voluntarily.
In indirectly or less affected areas here, the educational institutions, Madrassas, commercial complexes, government buildings, and even many Masjids have become the relief camps in which the rescued flood victims are provided shelter and food.
The camps are being operated by the young as well as elderly volunteers with the help of donations from the locals. They collect rice, vegetables, and other essentials from the people and use it to feed the victims.
Stalls have been set up outside almost all Masjids to collect donations in the form of eatables, money, or clothes.
“These are desperate times. Almost all of Srinagar devastated by the flood. Now we, who were spared by the flood, are trying to do our bit in providing relief to the victims,” said Ghulam Rasool, a middle-aged volunteer helping at the donation-collection point near Moulvi Stop here told Kashmir Reader.
The number of victims taking refuge at the camps seems fairly large.
At Kashmir University around 1800 victims were registered last week only. An estimated 20,000 people are taking shelter in the shrine of Makhdoom Sahab (RA) and on the Koh-I-Maran. A major relief facility has been set up in Islamia High School Rajouri Kadal. The Government school at Nigeen is almost packed with the victims evacuated from submerged localities of the Dal and Nigeen lake.
“To support the people taking shelter on Koh-I-Maran and in the shrine (of Makhdoom Sahab), the residents here provide, breads and anything they can. Many people donate rice which is used to cook food for the victims,” Salil Ahmad of Gojwara here said.
At many places like Kalashpra and Sakidafar, people have set up food points for the victims as well as for the rescuers.
“We cook the food and provide it to anyone who is hungry. Victims as well as the people who are making efforts to rescue their loved ones are benefitted by it,” said Shakeel Ahmad of Kalash Pora.
The victims are praise the efforts of the volunteers, and criticise the state and the army.
“We are thankful to the people of Kashmir for helping us in this hour of grief,” said Zahoor Ahmad who is staying with his family in the relief camp at Kashmir University. “Without their efforts we may have died because neither the state government nor army did anything to help us.”