Bill Gates Foundation announces $700,000 for Jammu and Kashmir flood relief

The help came in response to a request from minister Jitendra Singh

New Delhi/Srinagar: American business tycoon and philanthropist Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Friday announced an emergency relief fund of $700,000 for the flood victims of Jammu & Kashmir.

The help came in response to a request from minister of state for personnel Jitendra Singh, who hails from Jammu & Kashmir.

The announcement was made by Gates when he called on Singh here to discuss mutually shared areas of interest.

Singh and Gates talked about shared areas of focus, including the existing Memorandum of Understanding between the Foundation and the Department of Biotechnology/Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) for their Grand Challenges initiative.

The Foundation's Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative fosters scientific and technological innovation to solve key health problems in the developing world.

This initiative promotes Indian innovations in the areas such as sanitation and malnutrition, to help all children survive, thrive and reach their full potential, an official release said.

"I share the minister's belief in the power of technology to change the world and I applaud his commitment on harnessing the power of Indian innovation to save lives, through initiatives such as Reinvent The Toilet Challenge: India," Gates said.

In flooded Srinagar, Friday prayers offered on bridges, roads

With mosques inundated by floodwaters, hundreds of people offered Friday prayers along with "funeral prayers in absentia" for those killed in the natural calamity here on bridges on roads.

After the congregational prayers, people offered special prayers and also offered "gaybana nimaz-e-jinaza" (funeral prayers in absentia) for those killed in the floods.

One such gathering was witnessed on the Budshah Bridge near Maisuma, where the faithful from Maisuma, Gaw Kadal, Koker Bazar and adjoining areas offered the prayers.

The residents said the mosque in Maisuma was still submerged even as the authorities were using a number of dewatering pumps in the area.

"There is water still inside the Masjid (mosque) and the roads are also blocked. So, we offered the prayers on the bridge," a local, Naseer Ahmad, said.

Another local, Mehrajuddin Wani, said he did not remember any instance of offering the namaz in such conditions.

"We offer namaz on roads usually on the Fridays as many people come around, but offering the prayers on a bridge when the mosques are under water is a first for me," he said.

Similar reports of people offering prayers outside the mosques were received from various other localities of the city.

( Source : PTI )
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