Over 3,000 still stranded in flood-hit Golen valley


CHITRAL: More than 3,000 people remained stranded in Golen valley for the fifth day on Thursday due to delay in the restoration of a pedestrian path.

Surrounded by high mountains, the valley was hit by a glacial lake outburst flood (Glof) on Saturday last when one of its nine glaciers exploded.

The flood inundated Bubaka, Ozghor and Chashma villages, swept away the mountainous road and five suspension bridges over a stream, and damaged headworks and power channel of the 108 megawatts hydropower house.

Resident Safeerullah told Dawn over the telephone that the people of the calamity-hit villages were distressed, had sleepless nights and feared attacks by snakes, which had reached the valley with flood in large numbers.

He said the valley was disconnected from the rest of the district, so there’s no replenishment of food items.

The resident said famine was feared in the valley as the residents were left with no or little food items, while clean drinking water was also unavailable.

He said only the helicopter could deliver relief goods to the residents but as the valley had narrow and cup-shaped topography, the helicopter’s landing was possible in one place of its upper-most village.

“It is not easy to transport relief items from the valley’s upper parts to its three lower-most villages affected by flood,” he said.

The resident said it took more than two hours to travel from the lower part of the valley to its upper one.

He said the PDMA sent in a helicopter to rescue the premier’s sister stranded in the valley but it didn’t do anything for the residents.

Meanwhile, the relevant departments came under fire during a meeting here over poor response to the misery of Golen valley residents.

The meeting chaired by district nazim Maghfirat Shah was attended by district heads of the public works departments and health and local government departments.
The nazim and chairman of the district development advisory committee Wazir Zada reprimanded officials over delay in the rehabilitation of roads in and resumption of water and power supply, and provision of food items and lifesaving drugs to the affected villages.

They decided that an emergency centre should be opened to pool and coordinate the efforts of different departments for the relief operation and rehabilitation.

Additional DC of Lower Chitral Zakir Hussain said the administration had procured heavy machinery from construction companies working on Drosh power project and Lowari Tunnel before shifting it to the site for the restoration of approach way to the valley.

He said food items were also being transported to the valley for distribution among residents, while Rescue 1122 had been put on high alert.

The additional DC said a large number of people in poor health had already been shifted to the hospital for treatment.


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