Hindu Vivek Kendra
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Army to The Rescue, Not State Government, Say Angry Srinagar Residents

Author: Anchal Vohra & Sanchari Bhattacharya
Publication: NDTV.com
Date: September 11, 2014
URL: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/army-to-the-rescue-not-state-government-say-angry-srinagar-residents-589734?pfrom=home-lateststories

On Wednesday evening, on an Air Force helicopter that flew over flood-affected areas in and around Srinagar, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah dropped food packets to a city that remains, for the most part, under several feet of water. 

Tempers flared today with some angry that relief efforts were only reaching them six days after the floods began, the worst in the state in over a century. Others complained about living conditions in temporary camps. Many say Mr Abdullah's government has been short on assistance in a crisis.

Nearly 80,000 people have been rescued by the armed forces with assistance from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).  On the ground, where for so long the armed forces have been treated as an occupation force, there is a distinct change.

"The army is working hard. What I want to know is what is the state government's contribution?" asked Iqbal, who was airlifted on Tuesday night.

Today, as the frustration pent up over several days exploded, there were some incidents of army vehicles being hit by stones by people who say that while they have been brought to safety, the delivery of food and water and other essential supplies must be hastened.  They are also desperate for information about missing relatives; phone lines are working only intermittently.

"Relief and rescue operations are on. The situation has improved a lot. More boats have come today," said army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag.  "We now need to supply food, water and medicines to people in need.... evacuation operations are being carried out day and night. We are supplying all essentials, food, water, blankets, medical facilities," he said.

The Chief Minister says that before the heavy rains began late last week, warnings were announced at mosques and from police vehicles, urging residents to move to higher ground. "I am sorry to say that they willingly ignored these warnings...choosing to stay where they are," Mr Abdullah said.

The Election Commission indicated today that assembly elections in the state, which were expected in late November, are likely to be postponed to allow residents and officials a chance to repair the damage and recover from it. But the scale of the disaster makes that a formidable task, and for now, one that's almost too over-whelming to contemplate.
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