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Shortage of tents irks quake-hit
Mukhtar Ahmad In Uri | October 15, 2005 03:31 IST
Despite other relief material being relatively available in sufficient amount, an acute shortage of tents is causing grave concern among the victims of last Saturday's earthquake in this border town in north Kashmir.
Anger and desperation runs high in the entire tremor-hit border area as people desperately await for tentage to arrive.
The agonized families have been living under open skies since the last seven days now with rain and dipping temperature aggravating their difficulties.
On official count, the quantum of tentage required for the shelter less people has been put at 50,000, against which only 4000 tents have been distributed among the needy.
Given the slow arrival of tents from outside the state, the misery of the people seems to be long drawn with the first snowfall of the season already registering itself in the area days after the quake.
The residents of Nambla village near the Line of Control are battling chilly nights in the open sky.
"We need tents in sufficient numbers immediately. It is becoming difficult to spent the night in the open as the temperatures have plummeted after the recent heavy rains," Mutwali Mir, the village headman, told this correspondent on Friday.
He said the state government should immediately rush more tents to Nambla village where more than 70 percent of houses had been damaged by the quake.
In the adjoining village of Gharkote, the residents collected near the bus stand and when a truck carrying essential food items halted, they just scrambled. But to their utter despair, the truck had brought only food items.
"We have sufficient stocks now. All we need is tents to shelter ourselves. Without tents, life is impossible and those of us who survived the quake might die of the cold. We will have no option but to migrate to other places," said a school teacher, Mohammad Hussain.
A senior army officer while talking to this paper in Nambla village said "We have supplied some tents that were available with us. Something has to be done immediately to provide at least one tent to each family whose houses were destroyed."
Meanwhile the state government on Friday admitted that the shortage of tents was being felt all over and it was difficult to arrange these in sufficient number.
"Relief material like blankets, medicines and other articles have been arriving in good measure, the tentage would not be sufficiently available immediately," said a senior state government officer.
He said that tents might not be the right answer now as the winter ensues and survival within tents would be tough.
The high level centre-state reconstruction committee, which met in capital Srinagar, finalized a three-pronged strategy involving financial assistance, construction of community shelters and making available expert opinion for raising quake resistant structures, for immediate implementation to reconstruct the quake ravaged areas in Jammu and Kashmir.
To overcome the shortage of tents and in view of fast approaching winter, the union urban development ministry would construct, on war footing, 20 community centres in Tangdhar and Uri, the two worst affected areas, to accommodate about 6000 quake-hit people.
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