"We were in the village, and the rain didn't stop. The roads collapsed, infrastructure went down as well as power and communication poles – everything collapsed," Alex Zur recounted on Monday, remembering what happened during her trip in Pulga village in India, during the severe storms that took place in the area recently.
Alex and Mati are the owners of a toy shop in Israel. Together with their children, 7-year-old Ari and 3-year-old Ollie, they embarked on a journey in India to gather ideas for making unique wooden toys.
Before the storm began, the family managed to reach the village of Pulga. "There was no electricity in the village, and no running water," Alex said. "We cooked on gas. We knew that everything around us was destroyed, and there were no access roads reaching the village.”
“What worried us the most, after four days, was that there was no way to communicate with anyone from the outside, and we were afraid there’d be a shortage of food and supplies due to the infrastructure collapsing," she explained.
Alex and Mati joined another Israeli family, Ido and Shelly Litman-Levi, and their children, Uri, 7, and Aviv, 10, with the goal of leaving the village as soon as possible.
"We took a few porters who carried the equipment, and we set out early in the morning," Alex described. "We wanted to reach nearby villages, hoping they still had enough food and ways to communicate with the outside world. The journey was extremely difficult.”
“Rockslides, a lack of roads, we crossed over streams and collapsed bridges. We didn't expect it to be so complicated. In every village where we arrived, we saw that the situation was worse, so we moved on to the next village,” she recounted.
“It wasn't easy at all for the children. Most of the time, I was busy making sure they didn't fall into a pit or a well. It was very dangerous, but we had to get out of there," she said.
After a 20-kilometer journey, the families reached a small town called Bhuntar, where the infrastructure was again operational, and they were able to contact their family and friends in Israel. "Our families and friends were very concerned about us,” Alex said.
"We suddenly disappeared for a few days, and the news was reporting about the storm, so everyone was very worried. It was a crazy journey. The children truly feel like heroes. They walked in very difficult conditions," she also said.
Alex's friend, Tzeela Pinto, who left a few days before the storm began, told Ynet: "After almost a month in Pulga, which was like paradise for us and the children, we were extremely lucky to leave at the right time, after a split-second decision.”
“If we had been stuck there with six young children, we wouldn't have survived a 20-kilometer journey while carrying equipment and taking care of two infants," she added.