Historic Kashmir Floods: India Won’t Save Us. Will You?

 

INTERNATIONAL APPEAL

Historic Kashmir Floods: India Won’t Save Us. Will You?

An aerial view of Srinagar, Kashmir, on Sept11, 2014
An aerial view of Srinagar, Kashmir, on Sept11, 2014

Have you seen a city on a mountain drowning in rainwater?

Now you can.

The videos and pictures from the scene of the floods are amazing. Srinagar is a city above a mountain, in the great Himalayas, on top of the world.

Nearly two million people are drowning in rainwater, surrounded by mountains and rivers, with nowhere to go.

Imagine flood water rising up to reach your bedroom window on the second floor of your house and stay there for days.

Imagine there is no drainage system.

Now, imagine a government of a country with one of the world’s largest militaries, India, unable to save anyone except a few favored ones due to political reasons?

This is what is happening in Srinagar, the capital of the State of Jammu & Kashmir, a region under Indian military control for 67 years. India controls this region through military force. The dispute is currently on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council.

Without international support, and without the people of the world raising their voice, no one in Kashmir will be able to get relief and aid.

The natural disaster has disrupted Internet and cellphone access in whole of Kashmir. New Delhi will not allow international humanitarian organizations to reach the area. India did the same thing after the 2005 earthquake. The Kashmiris have no trust in the pledges of the Indian leadership.

It is India’s responsibility to save lives and allow relief groups to reach the area and help the people.

Please help us raise international pressure so that humanitarian aid reaches the people in Kashmir. India is evidently unable to provide relief. It should not stop others who can.

BACKGROUND | The Scale of Flood Damage

Jammu and Kashmir, and in particular the Kashmir Valley, witnessed the worst flooding in about 400 years. Five days of nonstop heavy rain. Over 200 people are dead. The toll is rising. Thousands still caught in affected areas are battling for survival and waiting to be rescued.

Six million people affected, and three million submerged in waters.

An unknown number of people are missing. More than 2000 villages and almost all towns and cities of Kashmir valley are under water.  Rescue efforts in Kashmir Valley are hampered by the shortage of rescue boats and fast-moving floodwaters that submerged large parts of the city. Disruptions of telecommunications in Kashmir, with mobile and Internet services mostly down have set off panic among Kashmiris in the diaspora as the Valley descended into a communication vacuum.

With the airport out of service and the main highway leading out of the Valley closed, the area was only accessible by helicopter. No alternate shelters were identified for people being asked to vacate their homes at a time when things could have been better managed when communication system in the Valley had not taken such a beating.

The local administration’s own poor response was either due to poor assessment of the magnitude of the crisis or marked by complacency and incompetence.  Even the rooftops of many houses have not proved to be safe as the furious floods have shaken their foundations. The local administration’s distress calls to the Indian government in New Delhi came too late in the day and the Indian government, which was busy politicking over the debate on Article 370 and the return of Kashmiri migrants, itself showed a belated inclination to help. No amount of hastened speed after this initial paralysis can undo the damage. Many of those who are a vital part of the administration were themselves victims of the flood, further throwing the administrative apparatus into disrepair and adding to the paucity of resources and flood threat to vital infrastructure like healthcare.

It may have been impossible to effectively respond to such a scale of the disaster. However, prompt action would certainly have minimized the agony.

The scale of disaster is so huge that the Indian government failed in its rescue operations and scale of disaster is increasing day by day.

PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION

We, the people of Jammu Kashmir, call for international aid not only in rescue operations but in rehabilitation of the flood victims.

Lend your voice to this great cause.

Sign the petition online at this link http://j.mp/1oyslat

Watch a video of the a city submerged in water, click http://j.mp/1owBnok

Read a report on how India is running a cosmetic relief show in Kashmir. See http://j.mp/WOMBgA

This petition will be delivered to international organizations in person by two delegations of Kashmiris in New York and Geneva.

For queries, information, and press interviews, contact:

In Geneva: Altaf Wani – Ahmed Quraishi
Tel: + 41 77 9248926, + 41 77 9643655
Email saleeemwani@hotmail.com
In Islamabad: M. Hassaan + 92 333 5988912
Email muhammadhassaan@gmail.com

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