Gojalis for early distribution of Chinese relief goods

GILGIT: As more relief assistance reaches for the people of Gojal upper Hunza, people express their dissatisfaction about the distribution process adopted by the local authorities. Chinese authorities brought the second tranche of relief goods, including coal for the people of Gojal earlier this month.

The distribution of the relief goods has been started after the approval of the government, a senior official told The Express Tribune on Monday.

Earlier, the disaster-hit people complained about the distribution of the relief items and described it ‘unfair’
as most families had not received aid yet.

“They only give aid to those families who are influential, we have not been given any relief goods as yet,” Saleem Khan, a resident of the Hunza-Nagar District, told The Express Tribune.

People demanded immediate distribution of the coal sent by China as the winter has already set in. Qurban Ali, a resident of Gojal, said that the government should take the village committees into confidence to ensure fair distribution of the aid in the region.

Over 25,000 people in Gojal Tehsil have been cut off from rest of the region due to severing of communication system as a result of the landslide
that hit Attabad earlier this year and blocked course of Hunza River.

Earlier this month, China had provided relief goods which were transported to Pakistan via the Khunjerab pass from Xinjiang province. The goods consisted of 74 tonnes of diesel, 15 tonnes of petrol and 3,000 tonnes of coal worth over Rs150 million.

In view of the difficulties being faced by the people of Gojal after the landslide, and also the beginnings of the harsh winter, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) conducted a need assessment.

They predicted a shortfall of essential food items and fuel items like coal. However, the assistance from China helped Pakistani authorities in controlling the situation though a number of local people expressed dissatisfaction over the distribution of Chinese aid, especially fuel, by the local government.

The Hunza-Nagar District Deputy Commissioner Zafar Waqar Taj said that people should not lose patience as the government was ensuring that the relief goods be distributed among the deserving people as soon as possible.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2010.

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