After the floods people in Kashmir Valley mostly rely on their forbearance. There remarkable resilience pick up the pieces from one of the most devastating natural calamities in their history.
The PDP-BJP government announced that the Centre would soon sanction a “big package” for flood relief and accusations by separatists and the Opposition that the official response to the crisis has been superficial, the people themselves are trying to devote their energies to pulling themselves out of their troubles at the level of the community as a whole.
“To give one example of how having a collective approach helped this village deal more effectively with the crisis, when one family that had been sheltered at the panchayat hall in the village was served a notice asking them to leave, the community volunteers went in a body to the BDO and got them to reverse that order. The idea was to ensure that each family’s rehabilitation and recovery would be taken up by the community acting as one,” she adds.
However, things are never so simple when a calamity is of such a magnitude and type which the people have not encountered before. More so when the Valley was only slowly recovering from the long years of conflict that has had a crippling effect on its commerce and economy.
“When the floods came it was like a double blow to the people of Kashmir. They were still trying to come out of the shadow of the militancy and the floods just set them back by so many years,” says Sheikh Samir of the J-K Yateem Trust, who worked with villagers in Duslipora as they organised themselves into a village-level committee to combat the crisis.
“We were engaged here in an effort to provide mental health counselling to conflict-affected families and had begun to achieve some kind of traction when the floods hit. We couldn’t stand aside then because we saw that the floods had only compounded the miseries inflicted by conflict,” he says.