By Shabbir Mir
“We can neither go back nor move ahead as landslides have cut roads off,” said Farman Ali, the Islamabad city editor at The Express Tribune. Farman, his wife and daughter have been stuck on the road between Gulmit and Nasirabad in Hunza for the past three days. “Besides extreme cold, the situation is getting worse – there is no food available in the area.”
While talking to The Express Tribune over the phone, Ali said earlier the stranded passengers were provided with food and shelter by locals but the latter have also run out of stock. “Besides psychological problems, loss of lives is another risk if people aren’t rescued on a priority basis.”
The strategic Karakoram Highway (KKH) has been damaged in over a dozen places from Sost to Besham in Shangla.
As blockades continue in Diamer Valley, passengers crossed over huge boulders and mud on foot, risking their lives to reach their destinations. “You can’t imagine the frightful situation over there,” said Mumtaz Khan, a resident of G-B who got stuck in Chilas. According to officials of G-B Disaster Management Authority, the task to help out stranded people has been devolved to the district administration. However, Hunza Deputy Commissioner Burhan Afandi told The Express Tribune work has partially started, but it would be sped up once machinery reaches the area.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2016.