Kashmir’s lone maternity care hospital staffers recount flood horrors

Srinagar: As the situation in Kashmir’s lone maternity care hospital Lala Ded – is limping towards normalcy, the staffers at the medical centre recount the horrors they confronted when floodwaters entered into the premises.
It was on the evening of Saturday, September 6, that water from River Jhelum overflowed the bund near the Blood Bank and entered into the hospital complex at Wazir Bagh here.
“We were in constant touch with the officials of the Flood Control Department and they told us waters would not rise that much so as to enter the hospital complex. But then in the evening on Saturday, the waters rose fast and seeped into the complex,” medical superintendent of Lala Ded Mushtaq Ahmad Rather told PTI.
He said the hospital staff, along with locals, tried to plug the gaps and raise the level of the bund using sand bags for about an hour but the water overflowed the bund at most of the places.
“We used sand bags to stop water and managed to do it to some extent. I was here till about 8 pm on Saturday and then I left. And when I was taking dinner at my residential quarters in Bemina, my staff called and told me that water was overflowing the bund and entering into the hospital. I immediately returned,” Rather said.
The doctor said the hospital staff, helped by locals, shifted the patients from the ground floor of the old building to the new building as a first measure.
“I, along with the deputy medical superintendent, Farhat Shafi and my HODs and locals shifted the patients from the ground floor and labour room to the second floor of the recently completed new block. There were 130 to 150 patients that time,” he said.
Shafi said, “We did not know the situation outside and were expecting help to reach us on priority but our hopes were dashed, only to get regenerated when two local boys came and asked if we need anything.
“It was like the angels had visited us. We told the two young volunteers to get candles on priority and if possible get some biscuits and water as well,” she said, adding the boys did not disappoint them.

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