Nocturnal flood alert triggers panic

Junaid Nabi Bazaz

SRINAGAR: The flood alert issued by the government on Sunday night, after advising people “not to panic” the entire day, created panic in flood-prone areas of the city.
Mohammad Ayoub Misgar, a resident of Jawahar Nagar, an area where more than half of the houses were completely damaged in the last year’s floods, shifted to a relative’s residence in old city at about 3am along with his family.
He returned to Jawaharnagar on Monday morning and shifted his household items and merchandise of his textile shop to the relative’s house.
“Throughout the day, the state government was saying that the flood situation is under control. But suddenly they sounded flood alert and asked us to move to safer places. What is this? They should have alerted us earlier. It was scary in the night,” Ayoub asked.
The devastating flood in September last year had caught people unawares. This time, they were not ready to take any chance and kept track of weather, water level in rivers, while shifting goods to upper stories or safer areas.
Across the flood channel, in Mehjoor Nagar, the situation was no different. Local residents told Kashmir Reader that they could not sleep throughout the night after the nocturnal flood alert.
“I heard about it at about 12 in the night. I asked my family to shift household items to upper story and left myself to watch the water level in the flood channel,” said Jagjeet Singh, a resident of Mehjoor Nagar.
On Monday afternoon, R&B minister Altaf Bukhari, visited the area and asked people to shift their house hold items to upper stories of their houses. But what about people living in one-story homes?
“Why did not Bukhari sahib thought about people like us who live in one-story houses. Tell us where shall we go, where shall we take our household items,” said Harminder Singh, a resident of Mehjoor Nagar.
Harminder and five members of his family spent the night on the embankment after the flood alert was announced.
“If government has asked us to move, why did not it provide us space where we can live?” Harminder asked.
Ishtiyaq Ahmad, a resident of Kursoo Rajbagh, had come to Mehjoor Nagar to take his maternal uncle who lives in a one-story house to his home.
Although Kursoo is a flood-prone area, Ishtiyaq said they can still save their lives by moving to embankment. Mehjoor Nagar, once flooded, offers little chances of escape, he said.
“We cannot afford to leave our home. Last year, we committed that mistake and lost many household items to thieves. We will stay here and in case of floods we can keep a watch on our house from the embankment,” Ishtiyaq said.