The case of Chitral and Gilgit Baltistan
Chitral and its neighbouring districts in KPK are experiencing the effects of the second most devastating floods, after the 2010 floods. Big to medium-sized boulders carried by the gushing river have caused the most damage.
The newly installed government of Gilgit Baltistan (GB) is facing challenges in the shape of floods hardly a month after assuming power. GB Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman in his recent visit to the affected areas said that an estimated Rs700 million will be required to restore the infrastructure damaged by the floods, while it would take two month to evaluate the total loss caused by the disaster.
GB usually gets two types of flood, one due to the massive flow of water in rivers, particularly River Indus, and two due to glacier lake outburst flood (GLOF) because of erosion, build-up of water pressure, an avalanche of rock or volcanic eruption.
In the last five decades, the temperature around Karakorum and its adjacent areas has increased by 0.50 degree celsius per decade. And that is why cold climate is not too severe in the area.
So far, the floods have claimed 30 lives in GB and two in Chitral. Mostly fruits trees, standing crop and cultivated land have been damaged.
The mountainous terrain of the area hinders relief operations. Pakistan Army soldiers and helicopters are carrying out most of the relief work. The access to these areas has slightly improved since some 790km of road network, along the KKH, has been restored.
Talking to TNS, Commander 62 Brigade Brigadier Ehsan Mehmud says, under the command of the force commander Major General Asim Munir, the Pakistan Army has provided eight free medical camps in which 2,500 patient were treated and supplied dry food items and cooked food to the affected families.
ISPR representative at Gilgit, Major Shumaila tells TNS that a special helicopter was sent to evacuate stranded people at Hesper valley of Hunza. “The army is in liaison with the local civil administration to avert any untoward situation.”
Speaker Gilgit Baltistan Assembly, Fida Muhammad Nashad, whose constituency has been badly affected by the flood, says the GB government has extended full relief and rescue provision to the devastated families, and would provide maximum assistance to the affectees once the damage has been evaluated.
The flood has damaged 57 villages in the Baltistan division. Cultivated land, fruits and fish farms have been washed away in the Astore district. Hundreds of people are stranded in different areas.
Chief Engineer Baltistan Divison, Raja Inayat, says nine hydroelectric schemes have been damaged and dozens of bridges have collapsed. People of GB and Chitral may face severe economic crisis as their economy is based on fresh and dried fruits. Source