Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Punjab announces Rs100m grant for Hunza lake victims

Gilgit: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif announced a grant of Rs100 million for rehabilitation of the affected families of Attabad.

He said consultations would be held with the government of Gilgit-Baltistan so that the funds were used on productive projects. He said children of the affected families would be provided free education and accommodation in Punjab or Gilgit-Baltistan.

He said the PML-N had sent 16 truckloads of relief goods and a team of doctors would soon reach Hunza.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-N chief Nawaz Sharif has urged the nation to help the people affected by the Hunza lake created by the Jan 4 landslide.

During a visit on Monday to a camp of displaced people in Altit, he urged the government to take immediate steps to restore the Karakoram Highway to revive local economy.

In this connection, he said, help should be sought from China and Switzerland which had vast experience of dealing with such situations. Mr Sharif said private investors should be encouraged to run helicopter and ferry services for the stranded people of Gojal and for trade with China.

He said the focus of efforts should be on rehabilitating people and reducing the risk of a disaster downstream. On behalf of the Punjab government he announced a compensation of Rs500,000 for the family of each person killed by the landslide.

The Sharif brothers had an aerial look for the 19km lake.

Meanwhile, people of the worst affected Gojal tehsil, who have been cut off from the rest of the country, were disappointed that their area had been ignored by the PML-N leaders.

Talking to this correspondent, one of them said the lake had submerged large parts of Ayeenabad, Shishkat, Gulmit, Ghulkin and Hussaini villages in the tehsil, but the neither Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani nor the PML-N chief bothered to go there.

He said the authorities were concentrating on the threat to downstream areas while the lake was fast submerging settlements upstream.

Meanwhile, the water level in Hunza lake continued to rise and submerged another 10 houses and a school in Shishkat and Gulmit.

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