By: Afaq Bhat
Srinagar,: In September 2014, Kashmir witnessed the worst floods of the century. The catastrophe claimed many lives and damaged properties.
After the disaster struck the then J&K Government prepared many proposals and assured the people that steps will be taken to ensure that if any natural disaster like flood strikes in years to come measures will be put in place to prevent the situation from taking an ugly turn.
“Even seven years after floods wreaked havoc in Kashmir, nothing much has been done to strengthen the banks of River Jhelum and other streams and Nallahs which entered into the houses of people and swept away everything that came in their way,” an expert told Precious Kashmir.
He said that the dredging work of Jhelum River in Srinagar city which was taken up during the PDP led regime is yet to be completed. “If Kashmir witnesses 2014 like situation again, there is every possibility of the Valley witnessing huge losses,” the expert added.
It’s in place to mention here that there are many areas in Kashmir that can witness flash floods as they are situated near the river banks. “The government needs to formulate a plan to prevent disasters from taking place,” said a retired engineer.
He said, “Flood protection system in Kashmir has outlived its utility and it needs to be revamped.”
On Wednesday, a cloudburst hit a remote Honsar village in Kishtwar district. The rains that followed the cloudburst swept away the entire hamlet. Seven bodies were recovered while 19 people are still missing and they are feared dead.
“No one can predict natural disasters, and there is no way through which such incidents can be prevented. Only possible option is that precautionary measures can be put in place to prevent the loss of lives. The areas where threat perception is high should be declared as no construction zones. It has been observed that whenever a catastrophe strikes, people living near riverbanks or in high altitude areas are the worst sufferers,” said an observer.
He said, “Recent tragic incident at Kishtwar should serve as an eye opener. Whenever, weatherman issues an alert the government should get the people living in vulnerable areas evacuated. This can help in saving precious human lives. Taking preemptive measures are better than providing monetary compensation after a person dies.”
“If 10 centimeters of rainfall is received at a station in one hour, the rain event is termed as cloudburst. This sudden discharge of a large amount of water not only leads to human casualties but also loss of property,’ said an expert.
“Kashmir usually witnesses heavy rainfall in August and September months. During this time administration needs to be more alert,” the observer added.