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Communication blockade: Reaching emergency services difficult in Kashmir

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Srinagar: When a Chinar tree at Alamdar colony in Baghi Mehtab area of Srinagar outskirts caught fire due to a short circuit last month, the locals were panicked, fearing that it could lead to huge damage in the area.

Worried that fire may spread to the nearby houses, people tried every means to douse the fire but to no avail.

 

The locals, for minutes together, tried to contact the Fire Service and Emergency department via recently restored landline telephone but couldn’t since the emergency services didn’t work in wake of the snapping of communication services across the valley early this month.

“We had to walk on-foot to Rawalpora to contact the fires services employees. We tried every emergency number but none of them worked,” said Umar Ahmad, a local.

“Emergency numbers 911, 112, 100 and 101 are not easily when dialed from landline numbers,” he added.

Srinagar reported many such incidents including in Nawabazar, Alochi Bagh and Magarmal Bagh where people had to walk on-foot up to the nearest fire station to inform the concerned department about the fire.

“We hardly have a few landline telephones restored in the area. We had to shout and call people for help. Later some of the people walked to the police station and some to the fire stations to call the officials for help,” another local of the area said wishing anonymity.

 The health services are equally taking a hit in the valley in the ongoing communication blockade.

People from various areas claimed that they couldn’t contact doctors or call for the emergency medical services during the last four weeks.