Kashmiris reach out to flood-ravaged Kerala

Srinagar, Aug23: Despite a slump in business this year in Kashmir, several individuals, including businessmen, hoteliers and a non-governmental organisation, have braced up to help the flood victims of Kerala in southern India.

Kerala suffered more than 400 deaths and witnessed 200 landslides in a monsoon deluge, last week. Over 80,000 km of roads were destroyed and key hill stations were completely cut off. Thousands of houses were wiped out, and nearly a million people are now in more than 5,000 relief camps.

Athrout, a non-governmental organisation based in Srinagar, appealed to people on Monday to lend a helping hand to support the flood-affected people of Kerala.

Bashir Ahmad, the chairman of the organisation, said that they collected a sufficient amount of money apart from relief materials like mineral water bottles, plastic sheets, torches, life jackets, biscuits, snacks, sanitary napkins and other medicines.

Athrout has planned to fly to Kerala and distribute the essential items among the needy. “We are leaving on 24 August,” Ahmad said.

Team Athrout will also be joined by Raheem Motors CEO Abdul Hameed and others.

“We will leave Kashmir after Eid. However, we will stop in Bangalore where we will buy medicines,” Hameed told Kashmir Reader.

In Bangalore, the team will be joined by Kashmiri students after which they will proceed together.

Hameed said that the initiative in collaboration with Athrout has been taken on humanitarian grounds.

“We feel the situation in Kerala right now very well as devastating floods hit Kashmir in 2014. In such situations, people have a lot of expectations. We want to help people with whatever little we can,” he said.

Hameed was also active in relief efforts in 2015, when floods deluged Madras.
Meanwhile, several individuals, including businessmen and hoteliers, assembled on Tuesday at Hotel Akbar in Srinagar and contributed money from their pockets and arranged other necessary consumables that were later sent to the southern Indian state.

Prominent among those who took the initiative include Omar Tramboo of Tramboo Cement Industries, Muhammad Yasin Khan, chairperson of Kashmir Economic Alliance, and others.

The individuals managed to arrange a decent stock of consumables including medicines, atta, biscuits and other essential commodities.

Speaking to Kashmir Reader, Khan said that arrangements were made mainly out of their own resources. “Although we had appealed to people to come forward for help, the majority of the contribution was from our own pockets,” Khan said.

Khan said that although the people of Kashmir are themselves entangled in different, difficult situations, but “we do not ignore other people who are in distress”. This is Kashmir, he said.

He appealed to people to keep their Eid observances austere and to come forward and help those in need.

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