‘Save lives, property from unfolding disaster’

Devastation due to floods
Devastation due to floods

With heavy rainfall bringing back floods to the valley within seven months, Environment Watchdog, South Asian Voluntary Association of Environmentalists [SAVAE] has said that nothing could move the government of Jammu and Kashmir over the past many months regarding disaster prevention.

The organization has appealed the new government to take things serious and help people saving their lives and property from the current unfolding disaster.

In a statement, SAVAE said that last autumn’s floods had not only provided sufficient evidence as to how better or worse Kashmir was placed to deal with such disasters, but had also many lean months for taking some basic measures in place. Though, it can be appreciated that the state government should take long-term disaster mitigation measures in coming years.

“We are aware that disasters can’t be prevented with overnight measures, but the previous government and the current government never gave the feeling that they had taken last year’s flood seriously,” said Parvaiz Bhat, the Executive Director of SAVAE.

He said that the September flooding was easily ignored as a one-off event and no lessons were learnt despite huge devastation.

For the flood prevention, the government needs to formulate a solid policy as Kashmir has not witnessed any disaster mitigation measures in the past many decades. “The Jammu and Kashmir government should do assessments of vulnerability and climate proofing of all the government schemes,” stressed Bilal Ahmad, Chairperson SAVAE.

“Sooner the government realizes it, the better,” Bhat said and appealed the government to help people in averting the danger of floods. SAVAE also appealed the government to constitute a committee which would devise a strategy for dealing with the aftermath of floods.

“Fortunately for us last year, the floods came at a time when the winter was just approaching. So, with the dipping temperatures, no epidemic diseases were reported. But this time around, temperatures could be conducive for the spread of water-borne diseases like Cholera. The government needs to take care of this fact,” Bhat observed. He said that the residents are already aghast that nothing has been done to improve drainage, especially in the Srinagar city which is the nerve-centre of entire state.