by Zulfiqar Ali Khan
HUNZA: After the devastating landslide, scarcity of food, medicines and fuel is becoming a real threat for the lives of the 22,000 inhabitants of Gojal, the largest tehsil of Hunza-Nagar district in Gilgit-Baltistan.
According to reports, shops, civil supply depots and utility stores in the valley have finished their stocks and cannot bring in fresh supplies due to blockade of the Karakoram Highway (KKH).
People of the area have demanded of the government to negotiate with the Chinese government and open the Khunjerab border for supply of food and other basic necessities. According to experts the KKH would take over a month to clear for traffic.
The blocked Hunza River is posing threats to the low-lying areas of Upper-Hunza and other parts. The local administration has directed people to evacuate the low-lying areas in order to avoid losses due to release of water.
Meanwhile, four helicopters started search, rescue and relief operations in the disaster-hit Atabad village. They operated to shift about 200 stranded commuters to their villages in Gojal. Medicines and fuel have been also transported to the far-flung valleys.
The local volunteers and rescue teams remained unable to recover the bodies of missing people buried under the boulders in Atabad on Wednesday.
The authorities have evacuated 173 families of Atabad, Sarat and Salmanabad and settled them in different relief camps in Altit and Aliabad. The sliding in the affected areas also remained continued and it is feared that the mountain on the other side of the village may also collapse.
Some NGOs have started aid efforts, however, the affected people are facing difficulties due to lack of proper aid and severe weather conditions. They demanded immediate steps for rehabilitation. [DAWN]