Vox Populi: Kashmir at the brink of another flood ?
Kashmir continues to face perpetual flood threats ever since the disastrous floods in 2014 which remains, by and large, one of the worst floods ever. It has been observed that just a few days of constant rains tend to create flood-like situation and people are left at the mercy of heavens in such situations. Kashmir Images reporter, Idrees Ali tries to find out the reason for such a state of affairs. Excerpts:
Unplanned, unabated constructions in and around the wetlands by encroaching upon such patches of land remains one of the most important factors that has lead to constant flood threats here. By consuming, illegally, wetlands for construction of buildings, establishing housing colonies and other structures is no less than waging a war with nature. 2014 floods have proved it. Wetlands provide valuable service to our ecosystem by way of water storage, storm protection and flood mitigation, Ground water recharge and discharge, water purification, retention of sediments, nutrients and pollutants. So when we fill in these wetlands, we are actually inviting trouble.
Unplanned urbanization, increased siltation and encroachments are the basic reasons behind the floods in Kashmir. Nature is landlord and we are just tenants. Why will landlord bear the torture of callous tenants? Result is evident- punishment, by way of floods and other natural disasters.
The last week’s rainfall is a reminder that the government has not learnt a lesson from the disastrous September 2014 floods. It seems the administration has not come up with any comprehensive and effective plan to prevent future floods. People should also introspect as to how they contribute to overall degradation of environment which leads to increasing floods and other disasters.
Zafar Afaq, (Student)
It is ironic that the government as well as the administration wakes up only when flood like situation arises. Why administration fails to act on time and take measures to strength the banks of rivers and rivulets, particularly river jehlum, and improve the existing flood channels? Despite spending millions, why is it that the main river of Kashmir has not been given due attention as it has been constantly losing its capacity to withhold waters!
I think deforestation is one of the most important cause for nearly all natural disasters including floods. Hills which used to be covered by forests are now left bare directly decreasing the water retention capacity of land. Rain washes away soil and increasing siltation is also big cause of floods. We need to revisit the memory of the 2014 floods and take lessons. Otherwise it will be too late.
Problem of floods is not only in Kashmir. It is global phenomenon. The fact is that there is evidence proving a change in global weather patterns and its natural variability, ie, climate change, brought about by man-made carbon emissions is heating up the atmosphere faster than normal. Glaciers are melting fast leading to increased flow of water.
If we don’t stop or mend our ways, believe me that more drastic and dangerous floods in Kashmir are inevitable.