Sunday, September 14, 2014

Very little water to drink in flooded Srinagar

Still deep under flood waters, Srinagar is parched.

A week after waters from Jhelum practically drowned the city, Bemina, Batamaloo and a few other areas have little water to drink. Even now, the flood water's still nearly three metres deep in these parts.

Given the huge number of people, the supply from the relief operations is just not enough. And with chlorine tablets in short supply, the fear of water-borne disease is running rife.

People who don't want to leave their homes are precariously perched on terraces, literally fighting to keep their heads above water. So getting to a hospital is next to impossible.

Inevitably, the second item on the "most wanted list" is medicine.

The army and the navy personnel engaged in relief work are only too aware of the situation.

"It will take four to five days for the situation to improve. What we need most at the moment are water, medicines and candles," said Commander Mahadev Subramanian, head of Indian Navy's marine commando force Marcos.

But even without the infection factor, the need for medical treatment persists. There are complaints of cold, headaches, fever, heart palpitation and the odd case of injury that needs stitches.

This is where Indian Army boats - at least the ones that have medical assistants on board - become invaluable.

Then there's Commander Subramanian's team - three dozen Marcos specialist divers, who are lending a helping hand.

The teams use Gemini rubber inflatable boats, which can easily navigate the narrow bylanes of Srinagar. Their sole disadvantage - a lower carrying capacity than other boats.

But despite the current travails, the navy personnel are upbeat. "We expect the water levels to recede in another four to five days. In any case, the worst is behind us," said Commander Subramanian.

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