Being trapped in a hotel on top of a mountain in Kashmir, of northern India, was not the only horrendous experience for the two Bahrainis caught in the region’s worst flood in hundred years.
Avoiding the surge of those merciless flood-waters battering their place of shelter, struggling to survive for almost six days on just bread and water, and wading through knee-and-stomach high waters for long distances. These were all a part of their truly dreadful experience.
Hussain Mahdi and Adel Al Taitoon, the two Bahrainis caught in the floods, also took shelter at Kashmir University for a while, along with thousands of other refugees.
They had to then walk 16 kilometres before reaching an Indian Army helicopter, which took them directly to Delhi. And from Delhi, they took a flight to Bahrain.
Now, coming home to Bahrain on Saturday, they are relieved that their ordeal is finally over.
Earlier, a Bahraini couple who were on holiday in Kashmir, were also rescued from the floods , and they are now staying in Delhi , continuing their holiday .
While many of us in Bahrain, like their families, are relieved at their rescue, my heart goes out for those thousands of others who were unable to survive this sudden fury of nature.
I feel that it is not just the families which lost 200 of their loved ones who are suffering, but also the relatives of the 150,000 people who are still stranded there – without rescuers being able to reach them – who need our prayers and support.
All air operations were halted yesterday morning because of the increasing rain, which triggered panic as they felt more might die. But, thankfully, with the weather condition improving in Jammu and Kashmir by mid-morning yesterday, rescue and relief operations resumed.
Receding water in many areas is now beginning to reveal the real extent of the devastation.
“Srinagar has drowned completely, it’s unrecognisable. Almost everything is in ruins, it is just unimaginable,” said a State Disaster Response Force official to the news channel NDTV.
Earlier, on Saturday, when I asked the Bahraini Ambassador to India, Tariq Bin Daina on how these Bahrainis went missing, he said: “They weren’t actually missing, but all sorts of communications with them were lost because of bad weather conditions. What made it harder was that no one knew their exact location, as their families couldn’t confirm in which hotel they were staying.”
Mr Bin Daina commended the Indian Government for its ongoing efforts in rescuing the flood victims.
I am overcome with admiration for the Indian Army which had risen to the occasion by its quick and efficient disaster management work.
The excellent communication contact between Bahrain’s Embassy in India and the local government’s rescue-and-relief agencies also needs a special mention here.
According to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, “Right now, the focus still remains on rescue operations as 1150,000 people are still marooned. Our primary focus is on provision of relief like rations, medicines and supplies they require.”
Sadly, with a possible outbreak of water-borne diseases once the flood waters start receding, I think, he has a huge task ahead of him. And he needs help from everywhere possible.
While we cannot question God as to why He allows these disasters to sweep into our lives, we can definitely question ourselves on how we use the wisdom and financial blessings He gave us – to help our fellow humans affected by natural calamities.