Surging lake in Hunza forces villagers to flee

Surging lake in Hunza forces villagers to flee

16 May 2010
The Dawn
Zulfiqar Ali Khan

HUNZA: The surging waters of the lake that has formed on the Hunza river submerged more areas in Gojal tehsil on Saturday, forcing people to flee to safe places. The lake washed away two bridges in Ghulkin and Hussain, on the Karakoram Highway, and cut off three villages from surrounding areas. Over 90 houses, several orchards, crop fields and two community centres in Ayeenabad, Shishkat and many commercial areas in Gulmit town, the headquarter of the Gojal tehsil, have already been submerged. The lake has expanded 18 kilometres upstream, leaving 25,000 people stranded. Damage to property and losses incurred because of the blockage of KKH as well as its bridge has crippled life in the region, which borders China. About 85 per cent of the population earns their livelihood through marketing of potato, which is not possible during coming years because of flooding. According to a recent survey of a welfare organisation, the farming community earned Rs1.25 billion through the marketing of potato. The survey reveals that the most suffering sector after household consumption would be education. The collapse of the local economy has thus created the issues of affordability and access to education in calamity-hit areas. There is also lack of any specific institution in this critical time to help children of families in economic crisis in continuing their education. APP adds from Islamabad   People residing on the banks of Indus River in Shangla, Kohistan and Battagram districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province have started moving to safe places because of flash flood from the Hunza river after entering the Indus could hit these areas. District authorities have started registration of the displaced families. Thousands of people residing along the banks of Indus in Bisham town, Sindh Colony, Shang, Mera, Dandai, Thakot, Pattan, Dubair and Jemal areas may be evacuated to safe places. Besides expected flash flood from the Hunza river, the flow of water in the Indus has increased manifold because of rise in temperature. The Provincial Disaster Management Authority has transferred funds to the district coordination officers in Battagram, Mansehra, Shangla and Kohistan for necessary evacuation of the people. According to the PDMA, about 900 families in Allai in Batagram district, 2,704 families in Kala Dhaka in Mansehra, 750 families in two sub-tehsils of Shangla and 6,507 families in Kohistan are included in the vulnerable population.


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