[News] Shortage of food, fuel, medicines hit people in Gojal

HUNZA (Zulfiqar Ali): After the devastating landslide, scarcity of food, medicines and fuel is becoming a real threat for the lives of the 22,000 inhabitants of Gojal, the largest tehsil of Hunza-Nagar district in Gilgit-Baltistan.

According to reports, shops, civil supply depots and utility stores in the valley have finished their stocks and cannot bring in fresh supplies due to blockade of the Karakoram Highway (KKH).

People of the area have demanded of the government to negotiate with the Chinese government and open the Khunjerab border for supply of food and other basic necessities. According to experts the KKH would take over a month to clear for traffic.

The blocked Hunza River is posing threats to the low-lying areas of Upper-Hunza and other parts. The local administration has directed people to evacuate the low-lying areas in order to avoid losses due to release of water.

Meanwhile, four helicopters started search, rescue and relief operations in the disaster-hit Atabad village. They operated to shift about 200 stranded commuters to their villages in Gojal. Medicines and fuel have been also transported to the far-flung valleys.

The local volunteers and rescue teams remained unable to recover the bodies of missing people buried under the boulders in Atabad on Wednesday.

The authorities have evacuated 173 families of Atabad, Sarat and Salmanabad and settled them in different relief camps in Altit and Aliabad. The sliding in the affected areas also remained continued and it is feared that the mountain on the other side of the village may also collapse.

Some NGOs have started aid efforts, however, the affected people are facing difficulties due to lack of proper aid and severe weather conditions. They demanded immediate steps for rehabilitation.

HUMAN CRISIS: Pakistan People’s Party Gojal chapter office-bearers and union council members have demanded provision of immediate relief to the affected people of Atabad and steps to reopen the KKH to avoid human crisis in the affected areas.

In a statement issued here on Wednesday, PPP Gojal chapter president Sultan Karim, vice-president Hakeem Shah, Mohammad Panah, Union Council member Ahmedullah and others have expressed profound grief and sorrow over the loss of lives and destruction at Atabad due to landslide on Monday.

They extended all help to the people and expressed concern over the blockade of the KKH and Hunza River. They demanded of the government to make arrangements for supply of food items, airlifting of patients to Gilgit and Xinjiang province of China.

PPP leaders also demanded of the local administration to take the wheat stock into custody and distribute among the people according to their needs. They sought compensation and relief to the affected families and their rehabilitation. source

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