By Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: The water level in Gilgit River has reached a new peak and is threatening the lives of people living in low-lying areas.
The areas that are likely to face inundation include Chamogarh Colony, Domail Lower, Sakarkoi, Thopchar and Baseen Kharee of Gilgit.
“There is a danger of water entering our houses at any time,” a resident of Chamogarh Colony Ghulam told The Express Tribune on Saturday.
He said they remained awake all night to take timely measures if water enters the houses.
“Men remain alert during the night to prevent any problems,” he added.
Aslam Khan, a resident of Domail, told The Express Tribune people have started taking precautions to avoid losses as water level in Gilgit River has increased.
He said people avoid taking their children and livestock to the river banks as threats loom large.
Karim Khan, another resident, said water enters their garden every night but recedes early in the morning without inflicting any loss. He said this happens every year in summer.
The government has imposed Section 144 to discourage young people from swimming in the river. However, violation continues as a large number of people are spotted along the river banks.
As the heatwave continues, the temperature in Gilgit has reached 40 degrees Centigrade. As a result, glaciers have melted in the region.
“Glaciers melt in summer due to the hot weather,” said Ghulam Mustafa, a climate change activist.
He said the water level in the river will return to normal in the coming days if weather remains dry. “But if there are rains, the level will surge and it is quite likely floods will hit the region,” he added.
Traffic between Rawalpindi and Gilgit was suspended temporarily on Saturday after a truck loaded with potatoes broke down due to a technical fault near Tata Pani.
A police spokesperson said Diamer police was helping the truck in the repair work. The police were also providing security to passengers who were stranded due to the road block.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2016.