Day after day, little hope has started to shine in the flood-stricken Kashmir, with Muslim organizations worldwide racing to offer aid to starving and devastated survivors.
“Communities in India and Pakistan have been hit by devastating flash floods triggered by late-monsoon rains. Nearly 500 people have died so far and millions are affected – with many without access to even basic services such as drinking water and sanitation,” Islamic Relief said in a statement published on its website.
“Islamic Relief has launched an urgent appeal for £1 million to support its emergency response in India and Pakistan,” the worldwide aid group added.
Both the Indian and Pakistan sides of the disputed Himalayan territory have been hit by extensive flooding since the Jhelum River, swollen by unusually heavy rain, surged earlier in September.
The river flows from Indian Kashmir to the Pakistan side, and then down into Pakistan’s lower Indus river basin.
Offering help to devastated areas, Islamic Relief has been working to provide life-saving aid to the families affected by the disaster.
“In India, we are working with our local partner – which has been operational in Indian-controlled Jammu and Kashmir for over a decade – to access the affected areas,” Islamic Relief said.
“In Pakistan, where we have been working for more than 20 years, Islamic Relief emergency teams are already on the ground in the AJK district of Haveli, where we are providing vulnerable families with tents and kitchen sets as part of relief efforts – and in Punjab. We are also poised to enter Sindh.”
Seeing catastrophic destruction, Muslim organizations worldwide dispatched their teams to offer help.
The devastating flood waters have left most of the people without shelter, medicine and food,” Islamic Relief and Research Trust (IRRT), an Indian relief organization, said.
“At present we are passing through the rescue phase of the disaster management that is simultaneously complimented by relief phase,” it added.
“After these two phases we need to go for the rehabilitation phase that is the long drawn and permanent one. At present we are in dire need of the following items in terms of immediate relief for the victims.
In UK, the Islamic Relief UK has issued a `global crisis appeal’ for those affected by severe floods in India and Pakistan
“People are in desperate need of food, emergency shelter, sanitation facilities, drugs and household kits,” Islamic Relief’s Muhammad Haseeb Khalid was quoted by The Asians newspaper on Friday, September 19.
“Once again we are seeing the poorest families losing their loved ones, their homes and their livelihoods. Recovery efforts will begin as soon as possible, but the impact these events have on the country’s economy could derail humanitarian efforts to eradicate poverty.”
Islamic Relief teams have already been working over the past week on the ground, delivering aid in both countries.
“Islamic Relief India’s crisis response team arrived last weekend in Srinagar, in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir. This region has been hit by the worst floods in 60 years. Incessant rain for more than five days and flash floods in several places has inundated 17 districts of Jammu and Kashmir. In some sub-districts, known as ‘blocks’, over 80% of the population have been affected,” Khalid added.
Similar calls for actions were made by Islamic Relief branches in US, Canada and Australia.
Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD) has also issued an appeal for help, offering a number of projects to help the affected areas in Kashmir.