SRINAGAR: As soon as the threat of a flood arose in the Valley due to torrential rainfall on Thursday, volunteer groups swung into action to start work for rescue operations.
The Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba J&K, the largest student organisation in Kashmir that is inspired by the doctrine of Islamic ideologue Abul Ala Maududdi, was the first to respond. Its president Umar Sultan told Kashmir Reader that the organisation immediately kept 1,000 volunteers on alert to meet any eventuality.
“A group in each district was formed to be vigilant and to help as per the situation. Though the rising waters looked scary, on the ground most of the people were safe. Our volunteers kept vigil near various streams in south Kashmir through the night. In Srinagar, they were ready to go on rescue operations wherever needed. Through our Whatsapp groups and Facebook page we had issued everyone’s phone numbers,” Sultan said.
“In south Kashmir, we instructed volunteers to be close to streams that were flooded in 2014. At the roaring Vashiv stream, a group of shepherds and their herds of sheep at Kulgam were rescued by our volunteers on Thursday. At other places our volunteers were busy laying sand bag embankments along streams,” Sultan said.
Similarly, Athrout, a group of residents of downtown areas, was the first to act in Srinagar. Its chairman, Bashir Nadvi, told Reader that five life-saving jackets, two dozen ropes, and 50 volunteers moved across the city to help people.
“On Thursday, initially, we deployed 10 teams, each comprising five persons, to Bemina’s Nundresh colony, Rajbagh, and Mehjoornagar. They were there day and night. At Bemina, we rescued some families. On Friday night teams were already deployed there,” he said.
As soon as news about the swelling water level in the Jhelum came, Bashir said, 300 volunteers registered with the organisation were informed to stay alert. “Thank god they were not put to work,” Bashir said.
During and after the 2014 floods, Athrout provided free medicine, monthly financial assistance, marriage assistance, help in establishing business, and in disaster management. It rescued 600 persons during the 2014 floods. It provided financial assistance to 150 familes for three months, besides relief to all parts of the city.
The student organisation Talaba, on its part, had rescued several people in 2014 and distributed free medicine, held medical camps, distributed reading material among students of affected families, and helped to fumigate hospitals to prevent epidemic diseases.
A group of unorganised volunteers have also rescued five out of nine passengers whose cab were flowen by a stream in Kokernag. The group used makeshift ladder to reach to the cab and resue them. On Friday one of the passenger was found dead at Hellar area of Anantnag district.