Multiple dimensions of the Hunza Disaster

Dr Shahid Siddiqi

The Gojal disaster has multiple dimensions: economic, educational, health, and psychological. The lack of communication, with the exception of obsolete and risky boats, has led to a number of economic problems. The submersion of 15 kilometres of the Karakoram Highway has brought to a halt trade activities through this route. The estimated volume of border trade ranges from Rs 4 to 5 billion. There is a serious dearth of food, fuel, gas and wood. The supply of necessary commodities is limited and insufficient. Approximately 15,000 kanals of land in Aeenabad, Shishkat, and Gulmit are underwater now. Most of this land was cultivatable. Thousands of domestic trees have been uprooted lending a hard blow to the economic means of the local inhabitants where 90 percent rely on farming. The buying power of the common people has gone down, as the prices have been hiked up and economic resources are dwindling. The sowing of the potato cash crop, which is the major source of subsistence for local farmers, has been jeopardised in the wake of flooded fields, broken communication means, shortage of seeds and fertilisers and highly uncertain future prospects.

The disaster has an educational dimension as well. Hunza is known for its very high literacy rate — about 80 percent — as parents consider the education of their children to be their biggest investment. A number of schools have now been destroyed or declared unsafe, leading to the displacement of a large number of students. Quite a few parents, because of the economic crunch, are unable to pay the fees for their children. The schools have been closed down, as they would be used as potential camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Complete at SOURCE

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  1. I went through the article. Really the hunza disastor has a multi dimensional loss for GB ie from economy to psychological.
    Nicely narrated Dr Sir.

  2. This is Aisha. I want to know whether this Hunza Lake-glacier disaster could be turned into blessing. We are experiencing acute water and energy crises in our country. Can this water be used or channelised/stored and Dam be built to generate electricity. As our neighbours have built Dams and blocked our waters, this lake outburst, its dangers aside, may be a blessing to be benefitted from. I am still to hear about the positive aspects of the problem. Where is our disaster management circuitry.
    Why not become innovative and device a project on Hunz Water indigenously.
    I know there are genius people in our country who can think like that.

    Please let me know whether it is possible to generate power from it or not.


  3. The proposal requires committed and visionary leaders to make such decisions. Our leadership has bought five helicopters with gold platted door handles at a cost of US $ 66 million from Agusta Italy in the name of ‘disaster relief’. yet it is always the army which comes to rescue people even in the natural disasters. The dedicated resources are used only for photo sessions and publicity gimmicks in the media. You will find Army Mi-17s and AKF helicopters providing relief to the distressed masses and none of the ones bought for such relief operations. Good bye NDMA, and what about fledgling government of GB?

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