Many houses have been destroyed because of Indian shelling
Hundreds of families have been forced to their homes and take shelter in government buildings or other ‘safe’ places because of the Indian shelling from across the Line of Control.
Many IDPs camps have been set up to provide shelter to the families, according to districts administration and the State Disaster Management Authority.
We had no option but to leave our house in Chakothi because of the heaving shelling, forty-two-year-old Muhammad Hussain told SAMAA Digital. It had become very difficult to live amid heavy firing, he remarked.
Hussain moved to a shelter camp with his three children and wife. He and 70 families (360 people) have been living in the campus of Azad Jammu and Kashmir University at Hattian Bala in Jehlum Valley district.
Life in camps is not easy and the harsh weather has exacerbated the situation.
The people don’t have warm clothes, blankets and other basic amenities, Hussain remarked.
“Majority of the people in the camp are shopkeepers, labourers or farmers who lost their livelihood sources because the Indian army was repeatedly targeting civilian population,” he said.
The administration has confirmed that people from Samahani, Abbaspur, Hajeera, Chakothi, Khuiratta, Nakyal, Kotli, Fatehpur Thakyala, Khursheedabad and other areas near the LOC have migrated to ‘safer’ areas.
Over 375 families (2,600 people) had migrated from Kotli till Saturday, said journalist Mubashar Chaudhry, who is among the IDPs, while quoting the district administration.
At least 113 families were accommodated in a government school in Dandeli, while 116 families in Girls Degree College Charhoi, Chaudhry remarked.
More than 100 families have been shifted to their relatives’ house in different parts of the Kotli district, he said.
“Luckily, we migrated before Indian Army used heavy fire,” Chaudhry said. “The shelling could’ve taken the lives of hundreds of people,” he added.
Nakyal sector of Kotli district is said to be the worst hit sector of the cross-border firing.
The SDMA has been trying to provide relief to the people. It has dispatched tents, blankets, plastic mats and food to shelter camps in Jehlum Valley, Muzaffarabad, Kotli, Bhimber and Rawalakot districts.
An authority official said that they have sent 100 tents, 521 blankets, 430 plastic mats, 230 sleeping bags, 200 shawls, 100 tarpaulin sheets, 100 first-aid kits and 100 mattresses.
SDMA provided cash grants to the district administration to meet any emergency needs of the people and ensure their medical treatment.
The holidays of the emergency staff at state and district levels have been cancelled. Control rooms have been activated and Rescue 1122 Service has been put on high alert too.
AJK President Sardar Masood Khan expressed his concern for the displaced families.
The government will take all necessary measures to address the concerns of its people living along the LoC and arranging for compensations too, he said.
Sardar Masood Khan urged the international community to take cognizance of India’s cross border violations and its atrocities in Kashmir.