September 2014 – KASHMIR – An epidemic threat is looming large over flood hit Srinagar with thousands of carcasses of livestock lying dead in the streets of the summer capital. In Army’s largest dairy farm at Bemina on the Srinagar-Baramulla highway, bodies of hundreds of Jersy cows and buffaloes are lying unattended for the past eight days after the flood hit the city. The farm opposite to the Army’s cantonment, Toto Ground, is spread over hundreds of kanals of land in the middle of residential area. Doctors termed the situation as “very threatening” saying if the dead animals were not removed and buried along with decomposing agents, the situation could lead to an epidemic outbreak. “This situation is a breeding ground for deadly diseases like cholera, hepatitis and typhoid,” said a known doctor at SMHS hospital. A young boy who identified himself as Saifullah Gulzar of Al-Shakir colony, Bemina said there were 370 cows and buffaloes in the Army run farm. He said the farm got submerged on Sunday (September 7). “The main gate of the farm was closed which led to the death of the animals. Only seven cows could be saved while they were being washed away by floods,” said Gulzar. While most of the carcasses have got stuck in the mud and flood water in the farm, many of them which were washed away by the flood were lying on the roadside, on the Srinagar-Baramulla highway.
With water level receding and sun shining bright, hundreds of dogs and vultures are preying on these carcasses. The whole area stinks and people moving on the road by foot or in vehicles cover their mouths to avoid the stinking smell. “It is becoming very dangerous day-by-day to return to our homes due to this stink and there are chances of deadly diseases taking places due to these unattended carcasses,” said another local Shabir Ahmad. “Some of the families which had returned went back due to the epidemic threat in the area. We are not allowing our children to enter this entire area.” In posh Raj Bagh area which is one of the areas worst hit by floods, carcasses of dogs were floating on the flood water. Groups of crows and other carnivore birds were feeding on these dead dogs at many places along the Jawahar Nagar-Raj Bagh road. “If you move into the interiors of Rajbagh, you will find scores of dead dogs floating around.
They have become a source of disease,” said Hashim Ahmad, member of a volunteer group from Ikhrajpora, carrying rescue and relief operations in the inundated Raj Bagh and Jawahar Nagar. The situation is equally worse in Lasjan on the Srinagar outskirts which remained completely submerged for many days as the area is located on the Jhelum River embankment. A foul smell is emanating from the locality as people walking along the bund cover their mouth. “First the flood ravaged us and now the government has abandoned us. The entire area has become a death trap,” said a local Mubashir Hussain. The bodies of dead animals like dogs and cows and poultry birds were floating on inundated roads at many places in the city on Monday including Hyderpora-Tengpora road, Iqbal Park-LD road. Another senior doctor said the government should remove the carcasses from the roads at the war-footing and bury them as soon as possible. “They can be even burnt also,” the doctor said. None of the ministers or government officials concerned could be reached at for their comment over the situation due to poor telecommunication network in Kashmir. –Greater Kashmir