THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 8 SEPTEMBER, 2014
Social Media Flooded with Messages for Help as Waters Rise in Kashmir
NEW DELHI: Panic seemed to have overtaken Jammu and Kashmir as the social media was flooded with appeals for help. Prayers to God took over as young and old reported rising waters on a virtually minute to minute basis. In fact even as posts were being shared Facebook members would sign off with contact snapped.
The Army moved in to launch rescue operations even though at the onset there was considerable chaos and confusion. The Jammu and Kashmir government was not able to take control of the situation, with knee jerk responses passing for decisions. There was little help from the centre either with no assessment of the dimensions that the calamity would assume. Continuous rains made the situation worse, with the last breach of the dam creating havoc in the state capital that is now almost completely flooded out with water rising to the second storeys of the buildings or engulfing the lower houses completely.
At the moment the Kashmiris are fighting to save themselves and their families. Reports from the state suggest that even the government found itself without connectivity links, and lost contact with important departments in the middle of the rescue operations. The Army soldiers themselves were reported trapped in several localities, unable to move because of the torrential flood waters.
At least 160 deaths have been reported, but as the authorities said the extent of the damage will only be known after the waters start to recede. Buildings have been felled, property destroyed, and countless injured.
The worry of Kashmiris outside the state was intense as most of them were unable to get in touch with their families. The panic was intensified because of the fear that the government would not act to save the residents, although the Army did an excellent job from the word go although the magnitude of the task was enormous.
Kashmiris shared photographs of the devastation the social media, with residents wading through neck deep water with children, goats, and luggage; orchards submerged and destroyed; bridges broken down; roads becoming rivers with residential colonies under floor deep waters. The photographs were usually accompanied with a “we need help immediately” messages. Residents kept issuing warnings but given the meagre resources, and the fury of the floods, the government resources were clearly not sufficient to cope.
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