by Zulfiqar Ali Khan
HUNZA, Jan 7: Chinese engineers have started removing the 263 feet high debris and boulders spread on about 4km stretch of the Karakoram Highway (KKH) after the devastating landslide at Atabad, Hunza on Jan 4.
Sources said that at least one month was required to clear the road to make it easy for small vehicles to cross.
Meanwhile, the prices of different food items at Sost border town are touching the highest ever in the region. Life in the highly scattered Gojal valley has come to a standstill due to lack of plummeting fuel stock. Hundreds of trucks carrying export goods including perishable items are stranded at Sost checkpost.
The teams of Focus Humanitarian, Pakistan Army and WAPDA are conducting surveys to find ways to release the water from the lake formed due to the blockade of Hunza River. The settlements on the banks of the river in lower Gojal are at risk of inundation if the level of the river continues to rise. Various villages downstream are also in danger of being flooded if the lake bursts, which could affect another 18,000 people.
The search and rescue teams have failed to recover the bodies of about six people buried under the debris. The hope for their survival is waning with the passage of time.
According to latest updates about 1,673 men, women and children of Atabad and the adjacent Sarat and Salmanabad hamlets have been registered and settled in camps set up in four schools and with host families.
The affected people are facing hardships in camps due to extreme cold. There is immediate need for food and other basic amenities like clothing, bedding, heating to meet the requirements of the 1,673 individuals currently in camps, said coordinator of a camp in Altit.