GILGIT: The floods in Gilgit-Baltistan have crippled the area’s infrastructure, depriving people of all modern facilities, including electricity and running water.
The area has been experiencing a blackout since August 5, when landslides hit hydel power projects in Naltar, Kargah and Gooro.
Moreover, as the Karakoram Highway has now been closed for 18 days, a food and fuel crisis has emerged in the town.
Running water is also not available in homes as channels carrying water to houses have been destroyed by either landslides or floods at various locations. As a result, people are getting water in buckets from the Gilgit River or nearby ravines.
Since there is no diesel or petrol available and hardly any vehicles on the roads and people are back to walking. And in the absence of kerosene oil and LPG cylinders, people are using wood to cook meals.
On the other hand, the government seems to have failed to provide relief. Those who survived the landslide in Gaise Valley, which killed about 50 people and wounded more than 80 five days ago, have not been provided food. The power outage has made it difficult for news to travel out of the area. Journalists are having a hard time filing stories and sending footage to their bureaus.
Most of the times when politicians and administrators – the DC and home secretary – are said to be in the field supervising rescue work, journalists have no means to contact them as cars don’t have fuel and mobiles phones have run out of batteries. Owing to the blockage of the Karakoram Highway, the lone land route connecting Gilgit-Baltistan to the rest of the country, newspapers are not reaching the area either.
There is no information yet on when the water supply would be restored to Gilgit while authorities say that from Monday (today) every area should get at least one hour of electricity.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2010.
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