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What it was like to rescue a baby floating on flood waters

November 4, 2013, 6:37 pm | This story has an Influence Score of 672

By riazhussain

The Indus valley was the cradle of ancient civilization. The remains of the former Indus valley civilization are found at the excavated cities of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa. This population flourished in the fertile lands of the Indus, Jehlam, Chenab and Sutlej rivers. We do not know for sure how this ancient civilization came to an end. What we can surmise, keeping in mind the agents of denudation and change in the region, is that it might have been natural calamities that turned these centers of civilizations into mounds of dust to be unearthed by posterity.  Perhaps the waters of these very powerful rivers overflowed the banks and swallowed the ancient economies.

In fact, floods are recurrent phenomena in the region. Heavy monsoon rains play havoc with the fertile lands and thousands of people are displaced every year. It happened in 2010 when in late July one-fifth of the region’s (now Pakistan) total land (approximately 796,095 square kilometres) was submerged in rain-driven flood waters and around 2,000 died and 20 million people were affected. Infrastructure was damaged and wheat crops were washed away.

According to WHO, millions of people were forced to drink unsafe water. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to the world for emergency relief and exclaimed that the flood was the worst disaster he had ever seen.

In August 2013 in Pakistan, melted water from the ice and snow of Himalaya and heavy monsoon rains triggered floods across Pakistan. The fast and powerful torrential waters swept away hundreds of houses.  As the structures collapsed, people got injured and electrocuted. 83 people died and nearly one hundred were hurt. 831.5 million People were affected.  Thousands of people had to seek refuge in relief camps. The flood waters abated in month of October. The media has covered the problems of the flood-stricken people and how the government and NGOs have carried out the relief efforts. But, the media has missed an unbelievably true story which we are going to narrate here.

We've heard this story from military personal who had participated in the relief efforts carried out by the Pakistan Army. They told us that had been working in the flood-hit areas. They set up flood signs to inform people of the submerged area.

They used dewatering pumps, set up mobile field hospitals and relief camps and distributed dry food packets to people in the camps. They had rescued nearly 1200 people with MI-17 and motor boats. Mud brick buildings were standing there half-submerged in flood waters. Amid all these efforts, various household items would be seen being carried away by flood waters. They saw big trunks, mattresses and cooking utensils floating on the water. They focused on human life and let the household items drift away.

But one day they noticed a thing which they could not let pass them by -- a child sleeping on a piece of wood that was floating on the waters of the flood. They stood there stunned and dumbfounded at what to do. The wood was gradually moving in their direction. They waited for it while they were standing knee-deep in water where snakes would dart around. When the piece of wood came nearer, they hurried to pick the sleeping baby. But, the moment they reached and got hold of the infant, the 'wood' dived down immediately and revealed its tail. It turned that what had appeared to be a piece of wood was actually a big snake.

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