Junaid Nabi Bazaz
SRINAGAR: The government should conduct an investigation into why the administration failed to inform people in advance about the devastating 2014 floods, a report compiled by two non-governmental organisations has said.
“The government should conduct an investigation into the causes of the 2014 floods in Kashmir to find out why the administration could not do much to inform people in advance,” says the report— ‘Kashmir floods: Genesis, Responses and Way Forward’— compiled by ActionAid International and Centre for Research and Development Policy( CRDP).
The report is based on the opinion of experts presented during a seminar regarding the 2014 floods last November.
Among a slew of other recommendations, the report has also stressed the need of conducting a systematic survey to evaluate post- disaster issues, immediate rehabilitation of affected people and insurance companies compensating the loss of infrastructure.
Besides claiming nearly 300 lives, the floods that hit Jammu and Kashmir last September also damaged 2.5 lakh houses and business worth 34000 crore in the state.
Quoting Professor Shakeel Ramshoo, head of department Earth sciences, Kashmir University, the report says the floods were caused by uncontrolled encroachment along the sides of river Jhelum, loss of wetlands, reduced drainage capacity of Jhelum and cumulative effect of the heavy rainfall in the valley.
“The floodwaters entered the Srinagar city through several breaches along the weaker section of its embankments as well as sue to the overflowing of the Jhelum 3-5feet above its banks. The recorded water levels were much more above the drainage capacity of the river,” Ramshoo has said.
Chief Town Planner, Kashmir Division, Iftikhar Hakim has blamed unregulated, unscientific and unplanned urbanization in flood areas, shrinking of river basins and wetlands as the cause of recent floods.
The experts have said that since JK is prone to earthquakes, floods, landslides and snowstorms, government and people should be ready in advance to fight against them to minimize losses.
Professor Muhammad Ashraf Wani has said the flood has thrown up two important issues; one is how to stop the reoccurrence of floods and second is how to rehabilitate affected people immediately.
“There is a need to be prepared for the future disasters. All of us know that Kashmir is seismic zone and a major earth quake can strike anytime. Government has to take the responsibility and cannot be left only for the common people to decide on policy and preparations,” Wani has said.