For the last four days, Mohammed Amin Sheikh, has been making long tiring walks every morning from his damaged house in Padshahi Bagh locality of flood ravaged Srinagar – Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital, to every relief center in the city to find some food for his family.
“We have lost everything to the floods. There is no food left to feed children and we are now forced to drink flood water and use it for cooking also,” says destitute looking Sheikh, a contractual employ with the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC). “No one has come to our rescue; we have been left to God’s mercy.”
Sheikh is not alone. He is accompanied by some other male members of around 100 families living in the area, all of whom have similar story to share.
The area still remains inaccessible, as all the roads leading there have either been completely washed away by floods or severely damaged for any traffic movement. The only way to Sheikh’s house is an hour’s walk from Rambagh Bridge. Crossing over make-shift bridges, floating perilously over gushing streams of flood water that had breached into residential areas, he finally makes it to his house, which remains inundated.
“As the water started rising, we asked women and children to head towards Makhdoom Sahib Shrine for safety, while my brothers and I stayed on to save whatever we could. But within a few hours we realized we had to leave,” he recalls. “The water had started seeping in from all directions and in no time the house was completely submerged. If it wasn’t for the locals from adjoining areas, who came to rescue us, we would have been dead.”
Sheikh and twelve other members of his family have taken refuge in a dingy tin shed on the roof-top of their single story house. Inside, his 80-year-old father, Salaam Sheikh, who is suffering from acute chest infection and needs immediate medical assistance is lying in one corner of the shed while rest of the family occupy the remaining space.
“He has not been able to move for days now. He is sick and weak. He needs a doctor,” Sheikh added, with a worrisome look on his face.
Most of the houses in Sheikh’s neighborhood have collapsed and others have developed massive cracks, making them insecure for living. Like Sheikh’s family most of them are now living on roof-tops. The area presents a picture of small islands surrounded by neck-deep water in all directions with people trapped on them.