SRINAGAR: In an unprecedented deluge in Kashmir Valley, staying afloat and mobile was key to survival. And the survival instincts of the ordinary Kashmiris churned out innovations, saving precious lives.
The complete failure of the collapsed state administration in rescuing people and the shortfall of boats after Shikaras and wooden boats were used by volunteers for rescue operations, the people created their own floating vessels for relief and rescue of the people trapped in flooded residential areas.
“The boats are made of wood and are strong to carry out the rescue operations, but people came up with rafts made from different materials,” Shaheen Ahmad, who lives at Barbarshah here on the bunds of Tchunt Khul, said.
“It is unexplainable as to how people created makeshift boats in this crisis without any technical support,” he added.
Ahmad said the people in his area joined plastic barrels/drums with ropes and fitted the water resistant plyboard sheets on top of the structure to make rafts that carried rescue and relief efforts to interior parts of Rajbagh, the areas worst hit by the flood.
Khalid Hussain, a resident of Zaindar Mohalla here, could not believe his eyes when a group of youth from the old city just turned poly-foam rolls into a floating raft.
“We were engaged in rescue operation at Jahangir Chowk when a group of youth arrived from the old city. Seeing no way to cross the gushing water, one of them swam to the nearby furnishing shop, carrying poly-foam rolls to the dry area,” he said.
“His associates tied the rolls together and they rowed it to Batmaloo to carry out rescue operations,” he added.
Even the large plastic bottles normally used for carrying drinking water came handy for many. Some used tyre tubes to create rafts by fitting planks on top of minimum four tubes.
Some voluntary rescuers stuffed thousand of small plastic bottles into inside tarpaulin sheets to make lightweight rafts that were used in rescue and relief work in many areas around Babademb area.
The discarded wooden carpet looms that too were used for these operations.