Lack of electricity and fuel brings life to standstill in Gilgit – Baltistan

PT Report

Gilgit, August 15: The devastating landslides and flash floods that resulted in death of over 120 people in different parts of Gilgit – Baltistan have also blocked supply routes increasing misery and sufferings of hundreds of thousands more.

Blockage of the Karakuram Highway since last week of July has resulted in depletion of POL products, including petrol, diesel and Kerosene oil in the entire regions.

Hospitals have been closed and hotels are shutting down due to absence of electricity.  Banks have also closed down temporarily because of lack of electricity.

Supply of electricity to Gilgit has been cut off for more than one week due to destruction of power houses and transmission lines. Transportation system has also collapsed due to closure of fuel stations that relied entirely on supplies from down country through the Karakuram Highway.

In Gojal valley the boats have stopped ferrying passengers and goods because of depletion of fuel reserves. The local people are cut off from other parts of the region without proper medical facilities and supplies.

Ghizar, Astore, Diamir and the two districts of Baltistan are also facing similar situations. Hundreds of displaced families in different parts of the region have still not been reached by the government and relief agencies. One such example is of the displaced people of Gaise village in Diamir where the food reserves have reportedly finished and starvation is setting in.

Local people have demanded of the government to intensify its efforts in Gilgit – Baltistan to end miseries of the suffering people.  Deaths due to starvation and malnutrition seem to be a sad possibility in some far flung parts of remote affected districts of Gilgit – Baltistan.

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  1. Poor infrastructure, planning, distribution mechanism and governance are the major challenges of our country. This is deeply felt when such disasters hit the people.

    The disaster preparedness strategy amongst the masses is totally absent while the governments response is also not upto the mark.

    Gilgit Baltistan’s economy is heavily dependent on the KKH(the only land route connecting it to Pakistan and China) for supplies of commodities from inter regional and national markets. This wonderful highway was constructed by the incredible Chinese and handed over to the hungry crocodiles (FWO) to maintain.

    The current spell of heavy rains which has devastated the whole country and the region, has also severely damaged this national infrastructure. Gilgit Baltistan is on the verge of starvation if it remains close for further few days. Life in this mountainous region is said to have come to a stand still because of lack of petroleum products while necessary commodities have also been consumed.

    How long shall we depend on KKH for our daily commodities, or shall be learn some lesson from this and many past experiences by finding alternate sources for supplies of necessary commodities, at least the POL products can be imported from China.

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