Food, fuel crisis looming in upper Chitral

BOONI, July 20: A crisis of sorts is brewing in upper Chitral as the impacts of the flash floods have started taking its tolls on the people of the area.
The floods in streams and the main Yarkhun river have caused blockade to the only road to the Chitral town on two main points. As a result, stocks of daily-use commodities along with fuel have almost run out in the local markets. On Sunday, many petrol pumps said they had no additional fuel available as supply had already discontinued.
bridgeAs the floods have either washed away powerhouses in a number of villages or damaged their water channels, there is no water and electricity. Due to the unavailability of electricity, PTCL local wireless loop service has stopped working and communication with villages in upper Chitral, especially in Yarkhun and Laspur valleys, has disrupted for three days.
People reaching here from Chitral town said that the damage to the road in the south of Kuragh by the river was so huge that it would take more than a year for rehabilitation. On Sunday night, the road was also blocked due to floods in Nisur Gol at Parwak. Commuters travelling on the Chitral-Mastuj road are using the narrow Shunjar Aan side which is said to be very dangerous. Two days ago, a passenger land cruiser going to Brep from Chitral overturned while using the alternative route and a number of people were injured there.
In the meanwhile, thousands of people who had come to their home villages on summer vacations and to celebrate Eidul Fitr are now facing hardship to return to their places of work in different cities and even abroad. The inclement weather has added to their worries as it is feared that in case of more rains the situation would deteriorate.
On the other hand, the local administration turned out to be least bothered and prepared for any emergency situation. Despite issuing a flood alert by the Focus humanitarian organization about the floods a few weeks ago (published in ChitralToday), the administration did not bother to take precautionary measures to meet any untoward incident. At the moment, the Tehsil Headquarters (THQ) Hospital in Booni even has no first-aid equipment and necessary medicines and in case of any emergency it is totally unable to meet the situation.
The tehsil municipal administration (TMA) does not have even a single machine such as bulldozer to remove debris or any other blocks to clear roads or a tent to provide to the flood-affected people.
The people of Booni and nearby areas have demanded that action should be taken against the local administration officials for ignoring the flood alert and failing to take precautionary measures before the flash floods. Even after the floods they have showed negligence and are not contacting the flood affected people to assess the damages.—Reporting S.N. Peerzada


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