Friday, August 6, 2010

Foreign Tourists stranded in Gilgit Baltistan

As Pakistanis face an unfolding humanitarian crisis after the deadliest floods in their country’s history, scores of foreign tourists were struggling to get out of the picturesque valley of Gilgit.

Gilgit City is one of the two major hubs for all mountaineering expeditions in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Almost all tourists heading for treks in the Karakoram or Himalayan Ranges arrive at Gilgit before embarking on their expeditions.

Many tourists travel to Gilgit from Islamabad via the scenic Karakoram Highway.

By road the trip takes anywhere from 14 to 22 hours – by air, only 50 minutes.

But right now the flood-damaged Karakoram highway is a source of misery for hundreds of local and foreign tourists stranded there.

[Unidentified Japanese Tourist]:

"We stuck here for one week, doing nothing. Every day come to airport, waiting army flight, but there not much flight. Even the flight come, they are not taking many people. So a little people go. But we wait."

Most foreign tourists say they arrived in Pakistan planning to hike in the northern mountains.

[Unidentified Japanese Tourist]:

"We stayed for so long time. We want to move but we couldn't move so long time. But many, many people helped us. Thank you very much. We hope we can go to move today."

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