by Zulfiqar Ali Khan
HUNZA, Feb 8: The main bridge on Karakoram Highway (KKH) linking Pakistan and China near Gulmit and Shishkat villages, would submerge within 24 days in the lake formed on Hunza River due to the blockade of the river, said an official of the Frontier Works Organisation.
Naseem Hassan, spokesman for the FWO, in a briefing to Gilgit-Baltistan Legislativ Assembly Speaker Wazir Baig and Chief Secretary Babar Yaqub Fateh Muhammad at the lake site said that the rising water level further increased due to the recent snowfall. He said FWO engineers had excavated about 8 metres of the debris since Jan 29.
Experts were conducting study on the outburst of the lake as it was a possibility, he added.
The chief secretary said that 10 boats had been moved from Islamabad to facilitate the movement of people, food and other essential items to and from Gojal valley upstream on the lake.
He directed the Gilgit-Baltistan Power and Works Department to develop an approach road to the boat platform site for four vehicles to ease the travel of patients and women.
Meanwhile, the helicopter service remained suspended for the fifth consecutive day due to inclement weather leaving over 500 people, mostly patients and students, stranded on both sides of the blockade.
[Editor’s Note: According to NDMA website over 26, 000 cubic meters of debris was removed by January February 6. Since an average of 2, 000 cubic meters are being excavated everyday, the volume of debris excavated can be around 30, 000 cubic meters as of yesterday.]