Relief goods arrive in Gilgit Baltistan

A picturesque view of the Gojal valley in Gilgit before the floods caused havoc in the region.

Shabbir Mir November 21, 2010

GILGIT: More Chinese aid arrived for the disaster-hit people of Gojal on Saturday, sources said. Chinese officials accompanied the trucks of relief goods and were received by Pakistani officials in Sost, Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B). The Chinese delegation was led by Lie Yong.

Secretary Finance, Gul Baig, and Director General G-B Disaster Management Authority, Abdul Qayyum, along with others participated in the ceremony organised by the G-B government in Sost to thank the Chinese government for extending timely and continuous help to the affected people of Pakistan.

Officials said that the aid was delivered to Pakistan via the Khunjrab pass from Xinjiang in China and consisted of 74 tons of diesel, 15 tons of petrol and 3,000 tons of household coal.

The total aid amounts to over Rs 150 million.

While addressing the ceremony at Sost, the Chinese representatives said that China would never leave Pakistan alone in times of grief and would offer more support in the future if the situation required it.

“Pak-China friendship is higher than the Himalayas,” said a Chinese official during the ceremony.

Secretary Finance, Gul Baig, thanked the Chinese government for its ready support to Pakistan during this difficult time and said that Pakistan would always support China through difficult times.

In view of the difficulties being faced by the people of Gojal after the landslide, floods and the beginning of winter, the National Disaster Management Association (NDMA) conducted an assessment of the supplies that would be required by over 25,000 stranded people of Gojal during the winter.

They calculated that there would be a severe shortfall of essential food and fuel items in these areas with the coming of winter. However, the assistance from China helped the Pakistani authorities in controlling the situation and providing people with the necessary items.

A number of local people, however, expressed dissatisfaction over the distribution of Chinese aid, especially fuel, by the local government. They said that the Diesel and Petrol sent earlier was used by the government and nothing
was provided to the calamity hit region.

“Where is all this aid that has been sent for us? None of it has been given to us, only the government enjoys these items,” Farukh Khan, a resident of Sost, told The Express Tribune.

In a press conference in Gilgit last week, the affected people of Gojal demanded transparency in the distribution of petroleum products and asked the Supreme Appellate Court to intervene and stop the corruption by the civil administration and the government.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2010.

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