Kashmir’s Flood Fear Fades Finally

Kashmir’s Flood Fear Fades Finally
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by Iqra Akhoon

SRINAGAR: For many days, the heavens poured relentlessly upon Kashmir, drenching the land in torrents of rain. The Jhelum, a lifeline winding through the valley, swelled with the deluge, its waters rising ominously. In two places, the declaration of floods sent shivers down the spines of residents, evoking haunting memories of past devastation.

Scscarred by the catastrophic floods of 2014, Srinagar stood vigil as the waters teetered at the brink of disaster. Though spared from imminent flood, the city bore the weight of anxiety as the rain continued unabated, a constant reminder of nature’s unpredictable wrath.

The meteorological department’s forecasts extended the period of uncertainty, warning of potential flood risks until April 30. Scenes of destruction unfolded across North and South Kashmir, where landslides and incessant rains claimed the lives of five souls. Bridges creaked under the strain, and the Jhelum emerged dangerously close to its alert levels, prompting urgent evacuation plans to safeguard vulnerable communities.

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As the waters gradually receded, a brief respite allowed Kashmir to reflect. Questions lingered in the air, whispered anxiously by a populace haunted by past trauma. Why couldn’t the government fortify the Jhelum and the Flood Spill Channel (FSC) against nature’s fury?

The memories of 2014 loomed large, a grim testament to the consequences of inadequate preparedness. The Jhelum, overwhelmed by a deluge of 115,000 cusecs, far exceeded its meagre capacity of 25,000 cusecs. Srinagar, submerged under 70 per cent of its surface, bore witness to the havoc unleashed by nature’s wrath.

In the aftermath, the government attempted to bolster defences, clearing silt and encroachments to mitigate future risks. Yet, a decade on, their efforts yielded only a marginal increase in capacity, a mere 10,000 cusecs. It was a paltry enhancement in the face of looming catastrophe. Right now, the Irrigation and Flood Control officers said the Jhelum’s water-carrying capacity is 33000 cusecs and that of Flood Spill Chanel is 7000 cusecs. Kashmir lives in a 55-year flood cycle and what happens if 2014 returns with the 115 thousand cusecs in Jhelum?

As Kashmir grappled with the specter of another disaster, the question lingered: Was the valley truly prepared to withstand nature’s relentless onslaught? The scars of the past served as a poignant reminder of the fragility of human endeavor in the face of nature’s fury. Yet, amidst the uncertainty, there remained a glimmer of hope—a resolve to confront the challenges ahead and forge a path towards resilience. For in the heart of Kashmir, amidst the echoing whispers of a troubled past, lay the resilience of a people determined to weather the storm, whatever it may bring.

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