Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Evacuation from Gilgit city completed

Gilgit: Evacuation from the inner areas of Gilgit city has been completed after a report by engineers fearing emergence of another lake at the junction of the Hunza and Gilgit rivers in case of a massive water flow after an outburst in the Hunza river.

Sources said the National Engineering Services Pakistan (Nespak) in its report had suggested not only to mark houses, to be affected in Gilgit city, but also get them vacated to avoid any untoward situation, if water in the Hunza river flows with speed after the outburst.

The report stated that in case of a massive overflow in the Hunza river, water level would raise substantially at the meeting point of the Gilgit and Hunza rivers, which might push back the water of the Gilgit river to the inner areas.

The News quoted Assistant Commissioner and in-charge of relief camps in Gilgit Mir Waqar Ahmad having said that they had completed the evacuation of people from the vulnerable areas mentioned in the report of Nespak and the affectees were provided basic facilities in the relief camps.

He said “Soniwal” or nomads, who search gold in the Hunza river, had also been shifted to the relief camps and they would stay there until the situation comes under control.The sources said the authorities concerned were facing a confusing situation as the overflow of water had not yet started despite the fact that the lake water had already reached the spillway constructed by the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) for the release of water from the incidentally created lake after a landslide in the Hunza river.

A report by the FWO said water was still 10 feet away from the spillway but the PWD Gilgit-Baltistan claimed that the overflow would not start from the spillway before further rise in the water level by 14 feet in the lake.

According to the local administration, precautionary measures are also being taken for the protection of powerhouses and they have built a protective wall of sandbags outside the hydel power station in the Juglote area.

APP adds: The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) spokesman and Director General Operations Brigadier Sajid Naeem said the water level in the lake had reached 354 feet and the gap between the water level and the spillway remained 2.5 metres.Talking to a private TV channel, he said around 14,000 affectees had so far moved from the affected areas, out of which, about 10,000 had been housed in 31 camps.

Brig Naeem said lady doctors from the Red Crescent and a non-governmental organisation, Focus, had been sent to the upper Hunza’s Gojal area, where there was a shortage of female doctors.

He said the Army engineers, FWO and soldiers had been deployed in the area to cope with any situation and minimise the damage during the first hour of the overflow of water.He said a survey report had also been sent to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to make arrangements for any emergency in towns of Shangla, Mansehra, Kala Dhaka and Kohistan.

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