Flood devastates 5 Kulgam villages, over 300 houses destroyed

Flood devastates 5 Kulgam villages, over 300 houses destroyed

SHABIR AHMAD

Kulgam:  The flash floods triggered by the heavy rains in Veshav nallah earlier this month left at least five villages completely devastated in this South Kashmir district.
From destroyed residential houses to collapsed bridges or damaged roads, almost everything is in ruins.
Though over fifty villages have been affected by the floods, Kelam Gund, Chamb Gund, Ari Gutan, Chimar and Zangalpora villages are the worst hit where one comes across the destruction all around.
Some of the houses have been completely washed away while others have partially collapsed, rendering hundreds of families homeless.
“In our village the gushing waters of the Veshav spared only 10 to 15 houses and washed away the rest. Our paddy fields were also completely damaged. We lost everything,” Naseer Ahmad, a resident of Ari Gutan, told Kashmir Reader.
Recounting the horror, Khursheed Ahmad, a resident of Kelam Gund, said that at least 200 people were trapped in the village when the water started flowing ferociously through the village.
“On seeing the fast flowing waters washing away houses and cattle, we lost all hopes of survival and took refuge in a local Masjid (mosque). We all started praying to Almighty. Our prayers were answered and we had a miraculous escape,” he said.
In Chambgund village, many people even could not identify site of their houses after returning home as water receded.
“The gushing water shook the base of many houses and they are nowhere in sight. As the nallah changed its course, many people here have lost the sight of their houses,” said a 75-year-old Mohammad Subhan.
In the adjoining Zangalpora village, at least 20 houses have been completely damaged, the locals said.
Officials put the number of houses having been washed away or partially damaged in the flash floods in these five villages at over 300.
“In Arigutan village, 150 houses have collapsed while in Kelam Gund, Zangalpora and Chambgund dozens of houses suffered partial or extensive damage. We are assessing loss to property and initial figures suggest that the number of the collapsed houses is not less than 300,” an official told Kashmir Reader.
Two weeks after the flash floods hit the area, the people continue to put up in the government buildings as the authorities have failed to provide tents to the affected families.
“Almost all the affected families have been putting up in various school buildings including HSS Chawalgam, degree college Kelam, Middle school Kelam. It is the people from other villages who came to our rescue since the day one. The locals and some religious organizations have been providing us all the possible help in these tough times but government has failed to do anything,” said a group of villagers of Kelam Gund.
Deputy Commissioner, Kulgam, Nisar Hussain Wani, admitted that the affected families were not provided any tents. However, he said that administration was planning permanent rehabilitation of the flood affected people.
“We are planning to distribute first instalment of 70000 rupees among the flood victims so that they can go for the construction of at least two rooms. I will be personally visiting the areas in next couple of days,” Wani added.