M A I N   N E W S

Amidst mounds of debris, people wait for aid 
Ehsan Fazili
Tribune News Service

Batapora, (Karnah) October 12
They have already buried their 11 persons, including nine women and two boys in this hamlet, few km away from Tangdhar, one among a row of villages along the potholed, Dingy and mud road that leads to the Teetwal area. Life has come to a standstill with goods in scattered shops and foodgrains in government stores mixed with debris of the structures.

Mud houses shops and mosques, have crumbled rendering villagers homeless and shelterless due to tremors at Saturday morning’s earthquake. The tin roofs of the structures along the route have fallen on peripheries of the road in the shape of retaining walls leaving little space for traffic. The tombs of two mosques hang from tin roofs plunged onto the debris, as the villages of Kandi, Dilawar and Batapora look for the help from the authorities. As rain began on Tuesday afternoon, poor villagers, many of them injured, struggled to prevent their humble belongings from the rain.

“Nothing in the name of relief has come from Tangdhar”, said Mohammad Yaqoob, a government teacher in a local school. The population of over 4000 has got “nothing” from the civil administration so far, he said adding that most of them lived in sheds in the open fields along the heaps of harvested paddy. “Everything reaches to Tangdhar, but nothing comes out to our help”, said an injured Abdul Hameed. Residents of this Batapora village have seen the Deputy Commissioner concerned only once after the tragedy accompanying Finance, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Muzaffar Hussain Beigh.

What the population of this village has so far received includes merely 11 tents provided by the Army. “They (Army) has also provided cooked food at various intervals”, said a resident. “We have been getting whatever possible food items from the shops” said another resident. “Guzara Kartay Hein”, said another resident, while shell-shocked women continue to be busy gathering modest belongings and helping console their children.

Four days after the catastrophe the residents have no other alternative but to create hurdles on the road “to stop relief supplies”, as they believe are taken to places ahead ignoring them. “But that is not the case”, said Deputy Commissioner, Abdul Majid Khanday, supervising the relief and rescue operations. Like the urban localities there are no protest demonstrations or slogans against the authorities but creating hurdles to identify vehicles with relief supplies is the only way to express their anger.

There is no way out but to live in sheds and in the fields, as Namaz is also offered in open places, said Riyaz Ahmad, a resident studying in a Srinagar college. “I was in my house when the earthquake took place”, adding that he jumped out of a window and thereby prevented himself. His 16-year old cousin, Miss Farakh was buried alive under the debris of the adjacent house of his uncle. Other members of the family were away in the fields at work.


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