Srinagar: He knew his options were limited and he had to act fast. Ghulam Hassan had to choose between the life of his ailing two-month-old son or his own, so he decided to put his life at risk to save the infant.
Hassan, a resident of Bemina locality in Srinagar city, used a water storage tank to cross the flood waters to get relief for his son Adnan and starving family and nearly lost his own life in the process.
Until a fortnight ago, the couple were celebrating the birth of their first child after six years of marriage, unaware that soon they will battling for survival due to the torrential rains.
"We were caught off guard and in no time our house was flooded with water. We waited for a day without food, water or electricity. As the water level continued to rise we took shelter on the roof of our house," Hassan who was standing in a queue at volunteer run medical camp told PTI.
"The clothes that we were wearing were the only things we were left with," he said.
Initially unaware about the intensity of the flood, the family thought their ordeal was short-lived, but it was not to be.
"The next morning my son fell ill and we had nothing to feed him or his lactating mother who was still recuperating after a caesarean," Hassan said.
He said he waited for some help to arrive, but when no rescue team was in sight, he decided to take the biggest risk of his life.
"I had to choose between my life or my son's life, I decided to risk mine to save my son," Hassan said.
Noticing that the water level was receding, Hassan emptied a water storage tank to use it as a floating device and jumped into the water to get some help for his son.
After floating and swimming for some time, he was so exhausted that there was a moment he decided to give up, but a team of volunteers noticed and rescued him, Hassan said.
"They took me to a medical camp being run by few doctors at a nearby mosque, where I was given few medicines and some baby food, eatables for my family and some clothes," Hassan said.
And he returned to his family.
"A team of volunteers went with me, but their boat could not move ahead because of inundated houses and boundary walls.
"I somehow managed to swim back to my house with all the items tightly packed in polythene bags. That was for the first time in three days that my family had something to eat," Hassan said.
The next day the volunteers tried again to reach the family and after facing many hurdles they somehow managed to rescue them.
Hassan, who was now living with his relatives in Barzulla Bagar, said that many people were still trapped in his area and he feared that some might have lost their lives, as there was no information available about them.