Srinagar, Sept 11: In one of the worst floods in Jammu and Kashmir in the last 100 years, a number of unforseen agencies have achieved unexpected fete. Firstly, the Indian defence forces that bore a sore spot in the psyche of the Kashmiris till date, but came to the rescue of these very people when they were on the verge of being washed away. The state government was nowhere to be seen, thanks to the telecommunication network failure.
Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah had a convenient answer in his reach. "I simply cannot speak to anyone in J&K," he said. To an extent, that was true as people complained of delayed rescue and no network connectivity, which rendered them helpless in the face of death. But social media answered their prayers.
Even when there was a complete netweok breakdown, few of the telecommunication providers did allow WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter. Interestingly, the armed forces received their messages. The army, with its satellite phones could communicate internally, but depended on social media to track the stranded.
Radio Kashmir Jammu aid victims
Radio Kashmir Jammu started a special phone-in Programme ‘Jeevan- Rekha' (translated Life Line). According to a report by the Prasar Bharti, the helpline phone numbers were thrown open to the people and since then it has not stopped ringing. The channel has turned out to be the sole point of contact between the government and the stranded. The SMSs, phone calls, whats app messages sent by victims are immediately put on air and the government gets cues from them, which helps them in rescue operations.
Since Radio Kashmir Srinagar is also out of air due to it being submerged under flood waters, in a unique effort the broadcast of this Programme was simultaneously aired by all the stations of the state namely AIR Leh, Kargil, Bhaderwah, Poonch & Kathua so as somehow to reach to the affected masses in the valley as well. The response was enormous.
IAF soldiers carry out winching operation to rescue flood-affected people
IAF soldiers carry out winching operation to rescue flood-affected people stranded on a roof in Srinagar on Wednesday.
Kashmiri residents use makeshift rafts
Kashmiri residents use makeshift rafts to rescue flood affected people in Srinagar on Wednesday.
Indian army soldiers carry a seriously ill tourist
Indian army soldiers carry a seriously ill tourist towards a helicopter after he was rescued from a flooded neighborhood in Srinagar on Wednesday.
People pushing motorcycles stuck in a flooded locality
People pushing motorcycles stuck in a flooded locality after heavy rains in Vadodara on Wednesday.
People stranded on a roof signalling IAF personnel
People stranded on a roof signalling IAF personnel for their rescue in a flooded area in Srinagar on Wednesday.
An IAF commando consoles an onboard flood victim
An IAF commando consoles an onboard flood victim after she was rescued in Srinagar on Wednesday.
Flood-affected people, rescued from various parts
Flood-affected people, rescued from various parts of J & K, being flown to Chandigarh by a C-17 Globemaster III on Wednesday.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah drops relief packets
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah drops relief packets for flood-affected people from a chopper in Srinagar on Wednesday.
Army soldiers and civilians rescue an elderly flood victim
Army soldiers and civilians rescue an elderly flood victim in Srinagar on Wednesday.
An aerial view shows buildings partially submerged
An aerial view shows buildings partially submerged in floodwaters in Srinagar on Tuesday.
An aerial view of a flooded locality in Srinagar city
An aerial view of a flooded locality in Srinagar city on Wednesday.