Muhammad Iqbal has vacated his house that is surrounded by water and is now living in a rented house in another part of the city. Nasreen Begum and Fatima live yards away from their rented house which is ringed with shoulder-high water. Riyaaz comes everyday to see his house where all the family’s belongings are rotting in water.
They, and perhaps 300 other families in Osman Nagar, are refugees near their own homes.
“We sleep near the shops and other covered spaces and wait here for food and water being distributed by others. We have been reduced to begging,” says Fatima, who saw her few belongings get destroyed by gushing waters of the lake. But while other places in Hyderabad were marooned after the heavy rain of October 14, the Osman Nagar area has been under water for more than a month.
Most of the residents in the area were drawn to live here as the rents were low. “We paid ₹ 1,500 as rent but now all our belongings have been destroyed. And if we want to look for other places to move the house owners are asking ₹ 10,000 as deposit,” said Muhammad Saleem who works as a mason and lives in the colony.
Surrounded by rocks, the low-income colony now looks a pool of water with the odd house sticking out. Two local mosques have also been filled by the rising waters of the lake. Streams of volunteers from various Non-Governmental Organisations and good samaritans have been visiting the area and distributing food, water and medicines.
“We need food. But we also need a shelter. How long can be stay like this? The water can be drained and we will need help to clean the muck. Whenever I walk in the water to survey the damage at home it leaves an itch which stays for a long time,” says Riyaaz, who owns a house in the area. Identified as Shukur Sagar or Venkatapuram Lake, the spread of water was a huge sheet of water where the houses started coming up in 2009. “Only two times earlier did the water rise so high. Even during those years it receded within a week. But this year it is not receding at all,” says Muhammad Iqbal.