J&K floods: Debris removal uphill task, to take months

Even though they were rescued, hundreds of residents of Jawahar Nagar area here keep returning to their homes only to "helplessly watch" their life's savings submerged in the flood waters, while officials say it will take several months to clear the debris.

PTI| Updated: Sep 15, 2014, 01:10 AM IST

Srinagar: Even though they were rescued, hundreds of residents of Jawahar Nagar area here keep returning to their homes only to "helplessly watch" their life's savings submerged in the flood waters, while officials say it will take several months to clear the debris.

Sitting on the embankment of Jawahar Nagar flood channel, 59-year-old Nazir Ahmed Mir helplessly watches the men of Fire and Emergency Services remove water from the compound of his partially-submerged house using two small dewatering pumps.

"The house was completely under water two days ago and now some of the water has been removed by these people," Mir said.

Mir, a shopkeeper, says he had spent all his life's saving on the house and today he was left with nothing, but only the clothes he was wearing.

For the past four days the efforts to remove the stranded water from the submerged locality of Jawahar Nagar, one of the worst flood-affected localities in the Srinagar city, is on in full swing and so far several feet of water has already been removed from the area.

"See the water mark near the windows of the second floor of my house, this was the level of water when the area got flooded and now the level has dropped," Mir said.

The Fire and Emergency Services department has deployed several small dewatering pumps in the locality to remove water but they say that they need big pumps to do the job fast.

Many parts of Jawahar Nagar area are still submerged under eight to 10 feet of water.

"The situation was worst when we started the dewatering operation here, many three-storey houses were completely submerged in the water.

"So far, we have removed several feet of water but there is still around eight to 10 feet of water in many parts of this locality," said Ali Mohammed Khan, in-charge of the Fire and Emergency services Nowgam who is overlooking the dewatering operation in Jawahar Nagar locality.

Even after seven days of flooding, various rescue teams working in the area have to face problems due to the inundated gates and boundary walls of the houses. The floating debris and other items from the house too create problems in the rescue operations.

Officials here say that it might take several weeks before all the water from the area was removed and it could take several months for the people to clear the debris of their damaged houses.

Hundreds of rescued residents say they have been coming to the area regularly to "helplessly watch" the ongoing dewatering operation.