Residents of Kabgir Nagar move the elderly, children to govt. school, relatives’ homes
Fearful residents of Kabgir Nagar near Al Jubail Colony moved to higher grounds once again on Saturday evening following a 45-minute spell of heavy rainfall in the area. “Water and muck is still there on the streets. We are afraid that the water level will rise again. That’s why we moved older people and children to the nearby government school and to the homes of our relatives,” said Muhammad Iqbal, a resident of the area.
Kabgir Nagar was one of the worst affected areas in the October 15 flooding when the water from the sewage channel overflowed and marooned the colony. “With my six-month-old granddaughter in arms, I ran to the neighbour’s house at 3 a.m. and climbed up a wooden ladder and stayed on their terrace till 7 a.m.,” says Gulam Yazdani, a state government employee.
The residents narrated a terrifying tale about how the water made bubbling sounds under the doors as they slept, only to be woken up by the loud cries of ‘pani aaya, pani aaya’ that forced them to make a quick escape between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. in pitch darkness. Most residents escaped with their clothes and cellphones. One of them, Ghousia Begum, managed to carry her four goats to the terrace and save them.
The low-income colony where a majority of the residents are tenants pay ₹4,000-4,500 as rent shared horror stories about their escape from the muddy water that gushed into their homes, destroying everything in its wake. The maze of streets are lined with furniture, bags of rice spoilt by water, fans, TVs, refrigerators and the foul odour of clothes drying for four days and dark muck littered with assorted plastic waste.
“We don’t have anything left. We have not changed clothes for the past four days. People are helping us with food and water. But we cannot live on charity forever,” says Muhammad Asif, a bus driver, pointing to shoulder high water mark inside the house. His elder son rushes inside and fetches a brownish wet pile. “These are my books. Now what am I going to study,” asks Muhammad Owais, an intermediate student of Falaknuma Junior College. The family survived by moving to the tin terrace of a neighbour’s house at 2 a.m. and staying put there till 7 a.m. when they moved to the railway track on higher ground with the help of other residents.
The destruction is not limited to household goods and articles, livelihoods have also been wrecked as the water tossed and shattered autorickshaws and small cargo vehicles parked by their owners in the area. One car floated in the water and crashed into a wall creating a gaping hole. One of the residents, Muhammad Ayub, lost even the shuttering equipment that he used to keep at his home.
“I was scared when the water rose quickly. I ran with my parents to the terrace of the neighbour’s house. It was completely dark and we walked with just the light of the cellphone torch,” said Salma, a class VI student of St Nizam High School who also lost all her books in the flooding.
“The water was waist high by the time we walked out and moved to my mother’s house on this street (a distance of 100 metres), it had already reached shoulder height. I was scared for my eight-year-old daughter,” recalled Fatima Begum who survived the ordeal along with her family of four.