ISLAMABAD: The Chinese government, which had earlier provided quick relief and food assistance to 25,000 victims of the Attabad lake disaster in upper Hunza with over a hundred containers that were sufficient to sustain for a period of six months, has now formally agreed to provide essential fuel items as well.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) had initiated a request to the government of China to facilitate the needs of the population stranded in Upper Hunza in order to help them survive the winter.
Specialists and experts from NDMA had previously assessed the need for supplies and predicted a shortfall of essential food and fuel items during winter and took the initiative in October 2010.
However, during the process, the authority also effectively coordinated with relevant ministries in Pakistan and liaised with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Islamabad.
The Attabad landslide was the first major disaster that NDMA handled in the beginning of the year. According to an official communique issued by the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, the government of China will provide 74 tons of diesel, 15 tons of petrol, 3,000 tons of household coal and these would be transported via the Khunjrab pass from Xinjiang.
These supplies will be unloaded, stored and rationed for further distribution at the Sust Dry Port in Hunza.
The Chinese Embassy assured that all the supplies will be delivered by the end of November so that nearly 3,000 stranded families could manage to survive the freezing winter.
NDMA has been tasked and is already working round the clock to clear the Khunjrab pass for the safe transportation of the supplies. All the necessary arrangements have been made in this regard.
NDMA has been effectively coordinating the relief efforts for the victims of the Attabad landslide and has consistently worked with various other federal and provincial organisations to provide relief and services to the victims in Hunza since January 2010.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2010.