The inhabitants of Gojal Valley and passengers travelling across the Attabad Landslide Lake, already suffering from severe winter cold and heavy snowfall, received yet another blow today when the Attabad Lake froze, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded on both sides of the lake.
Severe winter has lately pushed temperatures in the valley to the extreme minus, augmenting the suffering of the already disaster hit people. Passengers complained that the government is showing cold shoulder to their grievances pertaining to travel across the Attabad Lake. Moreover, it has been reported that the Rescue 1122 boat service for Gojal has been suspended due to the frozen lake, leaving patients at the mercy of commercial boat operators, who are also reluctant to travel through the frozen lake, owing to the risks involved.
Some people were able to make their way across the lake via a raft that was able to break the ice and make its way.
Patients have been hit hard by the frozen lake, said Irfan Ali, a resident of Gulmit, who managed to reach his village via the engine of a Chinese company owned raft along with eleven other people. It should be noted that the population of Gojal Valley, more than 25,000, is already suffering from the dearth of even basic health facilities, let alone the availability of medical officers, specialist doctors and medicines. For this purpose, patients are forced to go down town like Central Hunza or Gilgit for treatments.
“The travel was extremely risky. We faced hard time to get here,” he said upon reaching the boat basin in Gulmit, Gojal. “Even the powerful engine of the raft faced hard time breaking the ice and making its way.”