His own residence has no power supply, his cell phones have no connectivity but Omar is working out of a guest house where he has created a make-shift mini secretariat to direct rescue and relief operations.
       
The state's Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather was located on Thursday in the Taxation Office where he was holed up for five days, unable to come out because of surging floods and cut off from the world because of the communication black out.
       
"My capital city (Srinagar) was taken out.  My government was totally inundated.  I had no government for the first 36 hours. I resumed operations of the government thereafter with six officers in a room," Omar said.
       
Recalling the devastation, Omar said, "The establishment was wiped out.  The state Assembly building, the High Court, the police headquarters and hospitals are all under water.”
       
He was unable to contact most of his ministers in the first three days and  still does not know the whereabouts of one or two ministers. Nor has he been able to contact the vast majority of legislators.
 
His close aide and the Kashmir provincial President of the ruling National Conference Nasir Wani has moved into the chief minister's residence but is unable to meet his family which is holed up in a nearby hotel surrounded by water.

Dismissing allegations that priority was given to helping VIPs, the Chief Minister said that his own uncles had been trapped in their residences as had a large number of other so-called important people.
      
Omar pointed out that in other natural disasters in the country in recent memory state capitals had not been hit whether it was the earthquake in Gujarat, flash floods in Uttarakhand or the cyclone in Odisha.
      
"It was unbelievable and unthinkable.  Initially everyone was cut off from everyone else--police, top officials, ministers, legislators, doctors.  So many of them were trapped whereever they were, unable to move out," he said.
      
Speaking of the gradual improvement in the situation with the waters of river Jhelum receding, the Chief Minister said cell phone services have begun functioning in certain areas.  Relief and rehabilitation work was picking up.       

Acknowledging the anger of the people devastated by the deluge, Omar said they were desperate because of lack of food and total breakdown of communication.  The armed forces and the state machinery had done whatever they could in the grim circumstances.
      
However, he said some lumpen elements were trying to cash in on the situation by instigating people to pelt stones on those who had come for relief and rescue.
      
"These elements want to fish in troubled waters, to instigate trouble and to sabotage relief.  Only well-fed people can indulge in stone throwing.  Those who have not eaten for three or four days will only look for help," he said.

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