Srinagar: On September 5, when floodwater entered Gulzarpora village of Pulwama washing away everything, Abdul Khaliq Teli along with 60 other villagers took refuge in only concrete three-storey house of the village, but no one knew that they will get trapped there for three days with no one coming to their rescue.
On that day, everything in the village looked normal. Few feet of water had filled the paddy fields 200 meters from village periphery, but suddenly in the afternoon a huge tide of water from Rambiarah swept the village in no time.
“Most of the villagers had managed to escape in the nearby safe villages by then, but 60 of us including children and elderly women took refuge in the only concrete house of the village thinking that it will be safe,” Teli told Kashmir Reader.
He said they had not imagined that water level will rise to the extent that they will remain trapped in second storey of the house for days together.
“On first day when water level did not recede we called our MLA to arrange a boat and get us rescued. He only gave assurances. Next day he kept his mobile switched off. We even called our relatives but they also showed their helplessness to reach out to us,” said Teli.
“We saw houses collapsing before our eyes, which panicked us.”
On third day, Teli said that the young boys from nearby Ramipora village displayed their extraordinary courage; they tied the ropes on tree tops and electric poles for around 200 meters to reach to the house the people were trapped in.
“They carried children and women on their shoulders and took them to safer places by holding the ropes. It took them whole day to rescue us from the house. We will never forget their bravery,” said Teli.
As the water receded from the village on fifth day there was no loss of human life reported from the village, but the floods had brought huge property loss to the village which was considered as economically prosperous in comparison with other villages of the area.
According to the survey conducted by the Revenue department, out of 360 houses in the village, 100 have been completely damaged and rest partially which are not livable.
Besides, the floods have damaged the entire crop including paddy and vegetables and business units in the village.
Even after three weeks have passed since the flood hit the village there has been no help from the government except 25 kg of rice distributed to the people.
“No one from the government visited our village which has been completely damaged. The Pathwari did the survey of his own. Does the government want to show its responsibility by only distributing 25 kg of rice?” said Ali Mohammad, chairman Auqaf Committee, Gulzarpora.
As the government seems nonexistent on the ground in the village, an international NGO, Action Aid, has come up with helping hand to the villagers. The group under its immediate program has distributed relief kits including blankets and food items to 64 families.
“After our survey we identified 64 families in the village who have lost all the sources of income. We deliberately excluded the families with a member working as government employee. Under our long term program we are thinking to give housing assistance to the victims also,” said Mubashira, Program Coordinator, Action Aid.