(AP Photo)
India Monsoon Flooding

“Rockslides, a lack of roads, we crossed over streams and collapsed bridges. In every village where we arrived, we saw that the situation was worse.”

By Ben Rappaport, United with Israel

Israeli parents Alex and Mati Zur were recently forced to make a dangerous trek with their two small children across hazardous terrain in India after severe storms hit the country, shutting down infrastructure in the rural village of Pulga where they were staying and cutting them off from the outside world.

Alex and Mati, who own a toy shop in Israel, were in India with their 7-year-old Ari and 3-year-old Ollie to gather ideas for unique wooden toys to make, Ynet reported.

They managed to reach Pulga when the storms hit.

“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 to Ynet.

“There was no electricity in the village, and no running water,” she 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.

After teaming up with another Israeli family, Ido and Shelly Litman-Levi, and their children, Uri, 7, and Aviv, 10, the families resolved to get out of the village as soon as they could.

“We took a few porters who carried the equipment, and we set out early in the morning,” Alex said. “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.”

She noted some of the hazards along the journey.

“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 said.

“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.”

After a 20 kilometer trek, the families managed to make to the town of Bhuntar, which still had operational infrastructure, and contacted loved ones 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 concluded.

Alex’s friend, Tzeela Pinto, who had also been in Pulga with her family, told Ynet they had been fortunate to leave a few days before the storms hit.

“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 said.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said on Saturday it had successfully accounted for all Israelis in India who had been unreachable amid flooding and monsoon rains in the country during which over 100 people had been killed.

No Israelis were injured.

On Monday, Jewish brothers Alan and Israel Vasker, athletes who represented the Indian cricket team during the Maccabiah Games in Israel, drowned while boating in a river near Mumbai