Landslide aftermath: Havelian villages remain cut off

Local administration deploys heavy machinery to clear the road


Muhammad Sadaqat November 23, 2015
An aerial view of a lake formed after a massive landslide blocked the Samundar Kattha stream in Poona Hill village of Havelian. PHOTO: ONLINE

HAVELIAN: Row upon row of seats lay empty in Havellian’s schools on Monday as residents of around 50 villages in this tehsil of Abbottabad remained cut off from the rest of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa for a third successive day due to a landslide blocking the sole artery connecting them to the province.

On the night between Friday and Saturday, giant boulders rolled down a hill overlooking Poona Hill village in Nara union council and blocked around a kilometre stretch of road and a perennial stream, Samundar Kattha. Fearing additional landslides, up to 30 families from the affected area moved to safer places.

The landslide came after cracks had developed in the hill after the October 26 earthquake. Authorities, locals blamed, had failed to act in time to prevent a landslide from taking place.

As winter draws closer and supplies grow thin, the local administration deployed heavy machinery to clear the path. Still many locals believe that creating an alternative route is the only permanent solution.

Sardar Sheeraz Afzal, a local leader of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), told The Express Tribune that the Nespak had constructed a 75km stretch of a road after the 2005 earthquake at a cost of Rs1.26 billion. But the weekend’s landslide meant an alternative road would have to be built to access the cut off villages.

On Monday, a number of politicians from the area also visited the affected section of the road, urging the government to speed up efforts to restore a land route to the villages.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 24th,  2015.

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