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Flood-damaged roads, bridges still unrepaired

Shaidas bridge in Laspur valley. Picture: social media

CHITRAL: The Broghil and Yarkhoon valleys of Upper Chitral have been cut-off from other parts of the province for over 10 days due to the failure of authorities to reopen roads damaged by flash floods.

Several arteries and four suspension bridges were swept away by floods last week due to the melting of glaciers.

Deputy commissioner Khalid Zaman Khan told Dawn that a major road was blocked in the Zhupu area due to the bridge’s destruction after heavy rains caused the river to swell. He said floodwater made it “very difficult” to rebuild the bridge on an emergency basis. The DC, however, said a chairlift for pedestrians had been installed.

He said as the water level reduced, the district administration began diversion of the river course to a narrow place for the installation of a makeshift bridge for vehicular traffic.

The flash floods hit 78 irrigation channels in the region but not a single of them has been rehabilitated, according to the residents. They also said the restoration of 17 water schemes was also awaited.

Farmers of Yarkhoon and Laspur valleys expressed concern about the delay in the restoration of irrigation channels and insisted that maize crop, orchards and vegetable farms suffered from water shortages.

Former councillor Mohammad Wazir Khan said residents of Yarkhoon valley depended on farming and livestock for livelihood, so the unavailability of water had rendered them vulnerable.

He demanded compensation for growers, who lost crops, fodder and trees to the flooding, and said the flood-hit livestock farmers should also receive financial assistance.

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