GILGIT: The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has said that 370 villages and 947 roads have been washed away in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Asif Lodhi, PDMA director general, said on Monday that the death toll had climbed to 183 while over 2,820 households were affected in the landslides. “The calamity is unprecedented,” he said.
Lodhi said that in the past, the average rainfall recorded in the region was 45 to 55 millimetres but this summer, the rainfall was between 100 and 150 millimetres. “There a 100 per cent increase and this is the root cause of the damages. Almost all ravines in Gilgit-Baltistan have burst their banks,” he said.
He said that blockage of the Karakoram Highway had cut the region off from China and the rest of Pakistan and floods and landslides swept away 182 bridges across Gilgit-Baltistan.
Speaking about the agriculture sector, Lodhi said that about 72,000 square kilometres of land had been affected and that nearly 5,000 cattle were killed.
Speaking about rescue operations, he said that in the wake of the first spell of the floods, a helicopter service was launched on July 31. “So far, 190 helicopters have been flown into valleys and 48,850 kilogrammes of food rations has been transported. At least 1,439 people have been airlifted to safety,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2010.