KKH blocked: Landslides trap dozens in Diamer

Rescue officials, district administration dispatch relief goods to area

Shabbir Mir April 08, 2017
Rescue officials, district administration dispatch relief goods to area. PHOTO: FILE

GILGIT: As many as 150 passengers travelling on Karakoram Highway (G-B) were stranded in the Diamer valley on Friday following landslides which blocked the strategic highway linking Gilgit-Baltistan with the rest of the country.

Irfan Nagri, a passenger stuck near the Raikot area, sent a text message informing that he, along with nearly 150 others, had been trapped in the region due to roads being blocked.

“Nearly 150 people are stranded due to a road block and they are helpless,” said Nagri. “There is no mobile service available in the area nor is there any help forthcoming from the government due to lack of access to communication.”

The message, when shared with the administration in Gilgit by The Express Tribune, Gilgit Commissioner Sibtain Ahmed directed the Diamer deputy commissioner to help the people in distress.

“Food, blankets and other necessary items were sent to the people stuck between Lalpari and Goner Farm,” Ahmed told The Express Tribune referring to an update shared with him by the Diamer deputy commissioner.

He said that the stranded passengers would be transported back to Chilas town after debris on the road in Goner and Faram are cleared. Later in the evening, Sibtain said that the people had been rescued though the road was still blocked since heavy rains had forced the Frontier Works Organistation to stop work.

Ahmed said work was underway to clear the road at two others places along the KKH including Tatta Pani and Lalpari where heavy landslides had swept away parts of the road.

According to another official, Rescue 1122 had rushed to the area to help the stranded people.

Meanwhile, traffic remained suspended between Gilgit and Rawalpindi and rest of the valleys for a second day owing to the landslides which had been triggered by heavy rains.

G-B received snowfall and rains over the past two days during a spell described as unusual by scientists monitoring climate change and its impacts.

CM directs assistance

Meanwhile, Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman on Friday directed the G-B Disaster Management Authority (GBDMA) and the deputy commissioners of all districts to ensure the provision of basic amenities to people in rain-affected areas.

Issuing an alert about safety measures to avoid damages from torrential rains, he directed the GBDMA and DCs to remain vigilant and ensure the provision of food, medicines and other commodities to those affected.

He also directed the concerned authorities to take measures for repairing roads and restoring communication lines to areas closed off due to heavy rains and land sliding. (WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM APP)

Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2017.


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