- Even as see the scenes of devastation and loss resulting from the worst floods to have happened in the state of Jammu & Kashmir for the past 60 flash on to our TV screens, we see the country’s unsung military personnel swing into action. We also witness a characteristic lethargy or inability of the state machinery to effectively control the situation on the ground or carry out rescue and relief operations.
- The Army and the Air Force quickly swung into action and undertook rescue and relief operations on a war footing for the J&K Floods. According to reports, an estimated 1,42 lakh people had been rescued until 13th September. It is the Armed Forces and the National Disaster Rescue Force (NDRF) that are responsible for this.
- The Omar Abdullah government announced a relief package of 200 crore assistance for the valley and for the Jammu region, but actual relief operations on the ground seem to be carried out only by the armed forces and special disaster relief teams and voluntary organizations. The state machinery and the likes of Mehbooba Mufti and her usually strident voice seem conspicuous by their absence in the relief operations.
- Rescue and relief operations include 13 tonnes of water purifying tablets, water filtration plants, suction pumps, sewage pumps, generators, communication systems and two fully equipped field hospitals, 10 tonnes of medicine and health care materials, blankets, tends and food packed have been dispatched to affected parts of the states and 22,500 patients have been treated. (source – Indian Express)
- The country’s armed forces may have encountered hostility and anger from residents; some cases of stone pelting preventing IAF choppers from landing or carrying out relief work have also been reported; all ironically because of the state machinery’s abject failure to provide succor to the injured, stranded and devastated citizens of the state.
- Rescue boats have also met stone pelters. However it is a testimony to the sheer grit and determination of the Armed Forces that personnel have resolved not to rest until the rest and relief operations are complete. (Source – Times of India)
- However this has not stopped the defence personnel from continuing their relief operations; come ‘hell’ or rain. Rescue and relief work has been intensified and ramped up as required; as many as total of twelve AN-32, four IL-76, five C-130J and two C-17 have been pressed into service by the IAF.
- The state machinery’s rank incompetence in dealing with the crisis and the absence of any kind of robust response to the unfolding tragedy is shocking and tragic. However, this is now being seen as an opportunity for a reordering of perceptions between the people of the state and the Indian security forces and its current avatar as a humanitarian agency. (Source – Times of India blog)
Image courtesy – Hindustan Times