The recent floods have put Kashmir in a grim situation with devastation of thousands of homes, businesses, livelihoods, agriculture land and farm produce. These floods have thrown up enormous challenges, which need both long term and immediate responses. While the rehabilitation of the homeless people should be the top priority, the revival of the businesses, livelihoods and above all putting back economic wheel into force should be also immediate.
Besides, the needed and unavoidable immediate response, which too has been meek and timid from the state, there is so far no major effort from the state to think of an organized, well planned and long term rehabilitation process in the lines of the Uttrakhand flash floods. Though the general public in Kashmir came forward to help each other, but its capacities and capabilities to respond to such a catastrophe is very limited. And through out world it has been seen that in such situations it is the state, in any form and dispensation, which takes the responsibility and even does not shy away from seeking international help, if the need arises. But in Kashmir case, unfortunately nothing of such sort has happened.
On other side, the September floods have raised many questions. Despite warnings, why were pre-emptive measures not taken? Why there is slow response and rehabilitation in the aftermath? What caused the flooding? Was the type of devastation witnessed, unavoidable? What are the losses meted to the economy and people in financial terms?
Though there has been some attempt by civil society to discuss and debate on our collective failure at disaster management, particularly the failure of the state in preventing the floods in the first place, and its painfully slow and a most inadequate ‘attempt’ at rehabilitation. However, the debate needs to be intensified and, as the civil society has demanded, government need to do proper probes and scientifically investigate the reasons behind the flooding. So far, government has not been even able to answer that whether it was flash floods or consistent rains which caused such a catastrophic deluge. Government also needs to look into unplanned urbanization, construction in water absorbent areas, flood channels and wetlands, which has been the main reason for such devastation as space of the rivers and flood absorbent bodies have been choked either by government itself or has allowed its greedy members to encroach. These questions and many more need thorough probe and investigation for prevention of any such disaster in future