by Zulfiqar Ali Khan
HUNZA, Jan 8: The hope for survival of six persons trapped under the debris of landslide faded as search operation was closed on Friday.
Geologists and experts from the Focus Humanitarian and Wapda have visited the affected area to find ways for release of water as the Hunza River has been blocked.
Talking to Dawn, an expert said that the water level of the 5km lake was increasing by about 4 feet in 24 hours. He said the water was 50-55 feet below the lower parts of Ayeenabad settlement in Gojal and it could inundate about nine houses in five to six days. He said the water could also submerge the Karakoram Highway (KKH) at different locations.
Similarly, search and rescue operation at the disaster site has been halted after failing to recover the bodies of six missing persons. According to the information cell in Altit, the names of the missing persons are: Essa Khan, 75; Ghulam Madi, 55; Shamim Bano, 45; Abbas Ali, 38; and Faizan Karim, 7.
Those whose bodies were recovered on the first day are: Nine-month-old Faisal; Shehzadi, 7; Saleem Khan, 10; Iram Bano, 10; Alhan Karim, 12; Wasim Khan, 12; Sultan Karim, 13; Sultana Bano, 16; Salma Bano, 17; Sheri Bano, 21; Shahina Parveen, 21; Sulaimani, 49; Niyat Begum, 65; and Essa Khan, 75.
Meanwhile, public representatives and top officials of Gilgit-Baltistan visited relief camps established for the affected families at Altit. Experts also visited the disaster site and assessed the lake formed upstream of the landslide site on Hunza River.
“It will take about three weeks to release water from the lake forming on Hunza River due to the massive land movements in Atabad village,” said Babar Yaqub, chief secretary Gilgit-Baltistan, during visit to the relief camps.
Speaker Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) Wazir Baig, Member GBLA Yasmeen Nazar, renowned mountaineer Nazir Sabir were also present on the occasion.
He said that engineers of Wapda, army and National Highway Authority were jointly devising strategies in this regards. “Our top priority is to save the expected losses due to the blockade of river in Gojal or due to the sudden break in low lying areas,” he added.
The chief secretary said the federal government had instructed them to provide food and other basic items through the Utility Stores outlets at Gulmit and Sost in Gojal tehsil.
Member National Assembly Marvi Memon, Member GBLA Mirza Hussain also visited the disaster-hit area and relief camps. [DAWN]