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Displaced people brace for snowy winter without shelter

10 families rendered homeless by river flooding

Zar Alam Khan

While the long snowy winter is around the corner in Upper Chitral, families displaced by floods in remote Yarkhun valley are struggling with shortage of food and absence of shelter as help is not reaching them due to accessibility issues.

The floods washed away 74 houses in three villages of Yarkhun and partially damaged at least 400 houses in other parts of the valley. Though Chitral was declared a calamity-hit area on August 22, government departments are still assessing the damages and haven’t reached out to the displaced people to help them reconstruct their houses. 

The situation in Broghil, located near the Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan, is reported to be more alarming with residents living in rain-damaged houses and running out of food items due to blockade of the only road to the area for over a month.

Glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) in two nullahs in Brep since 2007 had already washed away about 70pc of the village and this year rendered 52 more families homeless.

The floods also inundated 50 other houses in the village along with a government high school for girls besides damaging standing and harvested crops and apple orchards from which the locals used to earn a handsome income every year, social worker Karam Ali Saadi told Dawn.

Moreover, flash floods and river flooding displaced eight families in Khuz and 14 in Pavur. Water supply lines and micro-hydel power stations in these and many other villages were destroyed, cutting off supply of drinking water and electricity to the consumers, he added.

Talking to Dawn on phone, village council Brep member Mir Rahim, who is also one of the displaced persons, said except tents and ration for a month they had so far received no assistance from the government. He said the displaced families were living with their relatives but they needed shelters of their own before the winter season. 

He said the government should arrange prefabricated houses for them before the onset of the snowy weather. 

Former councillor Nawab Zaman said people whose houses were safe lost their farms along with crops and fruit trees and they also needed assistance for rehabilitation. 

Chief Minister Mehmood Khan visited Brep two weeks ago and told the affected people that Rs400,000 would be paid against each totally damaged house from the Rs1 billion funds he had already announced for the two districts of Chitral. 

The chief minister had said the funds would be released in a week. However, so far there is no progress on payment of compensation, Mr Zaman said. 



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