GILGIT: A major road in Phandar valley, Ghizer District – submerged during recent floods in the area – has left some 20,000 people stranded in the remote valley since a week.
The road sank on June 10 when flood water from Gilgit River inundated Sosat area, a few kilometres from Phandar valley, cutting off locals from the rest of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B).
“About half a kilometre of the road is under water and vehicles are unable to cross it,” said Barkat, a resident of the valley. “As an alternative, people have to climb up a hill to reach the other side,” he said, adding a small bridge in Sosat was also destroyed by the flood water.
“It seems unlikely that water will recede in the coming days or an alternative road will be made by next month,” Barkat lamented.
The suspension of traffic in the area has not only cut off residents of Phandar valley, but has also jeopardized the fate of the renowned Shandur Polo Tournament held between teams from Gilgit and Chitral in July every year.
Although Phandar valley is also accessible from Chitral via Shandur, it is not feasible for people to take such a long route on a daily basis. If an alternative arrangement is not made immediately, people could suffer from a shortage of food and medicines.
Deputy Commissioner Ghizer, Sibtain Ahmed said he along with engineers visited the disaster site to make a firsthand assessment.
“A major road, about 1,200-feet long, has been submerged. We have reported the matter to the government,” he told The Express Tribune via phone, acknowledging immediate action is required to restore traffic flow in the area.
In July last year, a massive landslide swept away part of the same road. As a result, those returning from Shandur Polo Tournament were stuck for days before the government finally repaired the road.
Similarly, in 2010, rising water level in a lake forced the people of Attabad, Hunza to use boats as a means of transport after a 25-kilometre stretch of road was submerged in water.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2013.
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Victims of last year flood are still waiting for rehabilitation, how can govt. overcome from this new disaster, Becharay Picay huway awam pictay rahaingay. Most of the population suffered due to corruption in the fund of protective channels.