Noorbagh kept vigil for nights to keep flood at bay

Srinagar: When flood was devastating almost entire Srinagar, the residents of Noorbagh locality here guarded the Jhelum embankments for several nights to prevent government from breaking it to divert the water.
Muhammad Yousuf Sofi, a local, told Kashmir Reader that the river, on the intervening night of september6 and 7, had swollen enough to flow over the vast stretch of its bank running on five kilometers up to Takanwari. The volume of the water, he said, was about to breach the bank.
“Just then, we learned that the government was planning to break the embankment to save the old city by diverting the water towards our locality,” Sofi said.
The locals decided to maintain vigil on the banks, and all men from various areas gathered to oppose the government’s purported intention.
“We first repaired all breaches in the river bank. Then, to strengthen its portion that was about to collapse, we constructed a long wooden frame and stuffed it with sand bags, using acted as an additional defence against the rising water,” Sofi said.
Without the effort put by the locals, the breaches caused by Jhelum could have inundated vast portions of their vegetable and paddy fields besides inundating residential areas at least up to low lying Eidgah Sangam on one side and Sakidafar on the other side, Sofi said.
“It could have inundated the Nallamar road too,” he added.
For constant vigil over several days, the families in the locality took turns with its men guarding the river bank round-the-clock.
“It was either the son or the father from a family who was deployed at the bank,” Shabir Ahmad Wani, who was part of the effort, told Kashmir Reader.
“The task seemed most hectic as to seal a single point of breach, we had to arrange 5000 sand bags and provide the bracing by driving poplar trees into the embankments,” he said.
Despite the efforts made by the locals, the water did penetrate into the area at several spots, “damaging a portion of our standing crop of vegetables”.
The locals also employed their pumps, mostly used for irrigating their vegetable fields, to pump out the water that had penetrated into the area.