by Farooq Ahmed Khan
GILGIT: Nine more people were killed in rain-related incidents across Gilgit-Baltistan during the last 48 hours, taking the toll to 17, officials told Dawn on Saturday.
Two boys were killed when the roof of their house collapsed in Khanbarry valley, Tangir Tehsil of Diamer District. Two persons were swept away by flash floods in Ghizer District. One each were killed in Thore Nullah and Astore District landslides.
The rain and flesh floods have destroyed cultivated land, houses, orchards, displacing thousands of people, mostly in Ghizer, Diamer, Astore, districts and Gilgit city.
Niat valley in Diamer district, Basin, a suburb of Gilgit and Gahkuch, headquarter of Ghizer district are among the worst affected areas where mosques, houses, official buildings have been swept away by flash floods.
Gilgit-Baltistan Disaster Management Authority officials said that more than 20 bridges, including Benazir Bridge that links Yasin valley with rest of the country, had been destroyed with the main Karakoram Highway and other roads linking seven districts with the capital city and the country blocked at various points by the landslide and floods leaving communities isolated and tourists stranded in various valleys.
Hundreds of people including patients traveling between Gilgit and Rawalpindi have got stuck up in various points of Kohistan without any shelter and food. Tourism Department has urged the hotel owners to provide free accommodation to stranded tourists.
Secretary tourism, Imran Sikandar Baloch told Dawn that the hotel owners association had been requested to provide free accommodation to the domestic and foreign tourists. The department will foot the bill of meal of the tourists, he said.
In Gilgit city the local administration and army personnel evacuated hundreds of families living in low lying areas along the river and shifted them to schools. A cabinet meeting held here today called for immediate efforts to provide maximum relief to the affected people. DAWN