After a prolonged hot spell, Gilgit received the first monsoon rains on Saturday.
The weather in Gilgit remained pleasant throughout the day, bringing much-needed respite to people.
“God has finally answered our prayers,” said Saad Ahsan, a youngster who was fasting for the first time this year.
The residents of Gilgit were facing severe problems due to the scorching heat and prolonged load shedding.
“This is the 20th Ramazan in my life and the toughest one yet,” said Masroor, a schoolteacher.
According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department, Gilgit received one millimetre of rain on Saturday. However, the department has predicted more rains in the provincial capital during the next 24 hours.
The maximum temperature recorded in Gilgit was 26 degree Celsius during the day, while the minimum temperature was 20 degree Celsius.
However, experts believe that dry weather could have a negative impact on the mountainous region, which has Pakistan’s largest water reserves in the form of glaciers. Prolonged dry spells pose a threat to agriculture and wildlife in the area, while the forests will also suffer badly if the drought continues.
“It is a fact that the glaciers will decrease if there are less rains and snowfall, which will negatively affect the entire area,” said Karakoram International University Prof Nafees Ahmed.
Contrary to the dry weather this year, Gilgit-Baltistan received unprecedented rains in September last year. The region, which is traditionally beyond the reach of monsoon rains, received heavy rainfall, which also added to the miseries of local people.
According to the regional government, the estimated losses were almost Rs13 billion. Apart from human losses, the infrastructure in G-B was also destroyed.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2011.