Saturday, July 25, 2015

Heavy Rain, Floods Wreak Havoc in GB and Chiltal

At least 30 people died, several injured, and hundreds of houses swept away in flash floods caused by heavy rain and melting of glaciers in Chiltal and Gilgit Balistan during the last four days.
The PDMA has confirmed 30 deaths since torrential rains and flooding began in the affected district. At least 10 people have died in Saht, eight in Uthol, two people each in Broze, Gohkir, and Lone, and one person each in Reshun, Ayun, Hingel, Green Lasht, and Warinj.
The latest casualties come as flooding and torrential rains wreaked havoc in most parts of the affected district on Friday and Saturday.
According to local administration, the most affected area in Chitral was the Mulkhow union council, where more than a dozen people, including children and women, were reportedly missing.
Meanwhile, area police said so far 11 dead bodies have been recovered and rescue and search operations were underway to locate missing persons.
A police official present in the flood-hit area told DawnNews that heavy rains began on Friday afternoon and triggered flash floods that damaged houses, shops, hospitals, bridges and government installations.
Hundreds of houses and shops in different areas of the Mulkhow sub-division, including Astro, Muzhgol, Authool, Warijun and Kushum villages, were washed away by flash flooding, compelling thousands of people to leave their homes.
The rains also destroyed the area’s communication system and that became the main hurdle in the way of effective rescue operations.
According to locals, the administration of Mustuj tehsil has failed to launched a rescue operation and local residents and affected people were searching for missing family members and friends on their own.
A local resident Fayyaz Khan told DawnNews via telephone that the administration had failed to issue early warnings and because of that residents of vulnerable localities could not manage to vacate the said neighbourhoods prior to the floods.
The police official said it was early to determine the exact degree of damage caused. He added that police and administration officials were busy in managing rescue operations. However, locals said more than 100 houses had been swept away.
A private hospital, a petrol pump, a bank and more than 100 shops and a police station were washed away and a police station had also been damaged.
Gilgit Balistan 
According to data collected from local sources, at least 110 houses, 16 mosques and seven schools have been washed away in Skardu and Ghanche districts. Roads have also been badly damaged.
Hundreds of people are stranded in different areas. Nine hydroelectric schemes have been damaged and dozens of bridges have collapsed.
Any initiative aimed at distributing food among and provision of shelter to the affected people has become difficult because 75 villages in the region have been cut off from cities.
The crop faces damage because the flash flood washed away water channels spanning some 45kms.
According to the sources, about 20,000 kanals of cultivable land and thousands of trees in the hilly areas have been swept away.
Local people complained that the government and opposition leaders visited flood-hit Chitral, but ignored Gilgit.
A resident said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should have visited Gilgit-Baltistan because the people of the region too needed assistance from the federal government.
Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafiz Hafeezur Rehman sent relief goods to Chitral, but the flood-hit people of his own region were still waiting for relief goods and efforts, the resident said.
The chief minister has yet to visit the affected areas.

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