Grassroots support and assistance for Kashmiri flood victims

Deadly flooding occurs regularly across India, but the recent flooding in Jammu and Kashmir is the region’s worst in 50 years. Commentators there have compared this disaster to Hurricane Katrina, for its devastation of a famously picturesque city Srinagar and also for its emotional backdrop where trust between the populace and the central government is so low that some relief deliveries have dissolved into open confrontation.

Following the lackluster reaction from the state government to the heavy flooding in the region of Jammu and Kashmir –affecting 1.9 million– and the Indian government’s tacit refusal to solicit help from the United Nations, disaster relief has consisted chiefly of concerted efforts from organizations within India, coupled with fellowships being formed worldwide.

Civilian response to the flood relief is unparalleled: despite being caught off-guard and irrefutably unprepared for the cataclysm. Citizens have been attempting to fill the gap of the state government and serving as the primary caregivers of their own people. The disparate entities and individuals coalescing to revive Srinagar predict a long road ahead for this steadily unfolding disaster. As of today, the National Disaster Response Force has rescued 50,860 people from floods and 12 camps have been arranged.

Marriage halls, mandirs and mosques have been converted into provisional community kitchens, welcoming throngs of uprooted people. Locals house strangers, doctors volunteer in smaller makeshift dispensaries, and volunteer rescue teams continue to wade through waters to deliver food.

Raheel Khursheed  of Twitter India utilized Twitter to send SOS distress messages, culling information about supplies needed, and coordinating rescue operations. Time zones away, a group of expatriates work to create awareness and coordinate the relief efforts underway on the ground.

Change.org campaigns and pleas for international aid are being circulated through social network channels, tax-exempt nonprofit organizations are being devised, and expatriates are returning home to lend their expertise and FCRA approved organizations surface to accept funds from abroad.

[Read full Forbes article] 

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