HUNZA, March 19: Top civil and military officials of Northern Areas visited Shimshal valley in Gojal Tehsil on Wednesday to take stock of a crisis situation in the wake of unprecedented snowfall in the area and to provide relief to the people stranded at a high altitude pasture on Pakistan- China border.
Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob, Fateh Mohammad and Force Commander Northern Areas MajGen Muzamil Hussain flew by helicopter to Shimshal and Ghujerav pasture where 10 shepherds along with a large number of sheep, goats and yaks are stranded due to unprecedented snowfall and closure of Abdullah Khan Pass.
The officials took with them edibles and other essential items for the affected people.
At Shimshal, known as valley of mountaineers, the Chief Secretary was informed about the problems faced by the people and the losses due to heavy snowfall in the area.
The chief secretary directed the local officials to provide relief to the people on emergency basis.
Over 300 yaks and 1,700 goats and sheep are reported to have died so far on the high altitude Ghujerav and Pamir pastures due to heavy snowfall and many more are feared to die.
The chief secretary and Force Commander assured the people of necessary assistance to them. The chief Secretary and Force Commander also took aerial view of the Ghujerav and Pamir pastures by helicopter and delivered food and other relief items to the stranded people there.
He directed the health department to ensure proper health facilities in the isolated valley. He also directed the Director Livestock to visit the valley and assess the losses of local community due to death of large number of yaks and other cattle.
The chief secretary assured the villagers that their wheat quota would be transported to the village and announced revival of Natco jeep service from Hunza to Shimshal. He also assured transfer of teachers appointed for government school Shimshal but serving in other areas of Gojal to the valley.
He further assured construction of a bridge on Shimshal road and increase in the number of coolies (road maintenance workers) to 20 in order to ensure proper maintenance of the road. He said the PC1 of a 300KVA micro-hydel project for Shimshal had been prepared which will be soon implemented.
The Force Commander, Muzamil Hussain, assured provision of telephone and other telecommunication facilities to the valley and said he would discuss the issue with Special Communication Organisation (SCO) and other relevant authorities.
The local community demanded compensation for their losses due to large scale deaths of goats, sheep and yaks, which are mainstay of their livelihood.
Shimshal is farming and herding community of some 2,000 inhabitants, situated at the northeastern extreme of Gojal-Hunza.
Shimshal pastures are spread over about 3,000 square kilometers comprising three dozen pastures, including three large and highly productive alpine areas. Also within Shimshal territory are innumerable peaks, glaciers and trekking routes, including nine peaks above 7,000 metres. Also at Dawn