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24 September 2017

Flash floods kill dozens in Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral

A rusted wood bridge at Molain Gol / Photo by G.H. Farooqui

Hundreds of people are awaiting help as heavy rains in Gilgit Baltsitan and Chitral areas caused floods and land sliding, killing at least 20 people. Dozens of people are injured and many are stranded due to transportation breakdown. The Karakoram Highway is blocked due to land sliding.   Thousands of people have been affected by the torrential rains.

The death toll feared to climb as many remote places are still inaccessible for the assessment and reporting. Government officials vow to assess and compensate damages on an emergency basis while affected people are losing their patience in waiting for help. 

15 People from Diamer District have been reported dead. In Chilas, a family of 4 died when the roof of their house collapsed on them. The family included a father, his son and two daughters. Amir Ahmad, in Thore Nala, was hit by a falling rock and he died on the spot. In Tangir region of Diamer, 4 kids with their mother were reported dead. Imtiaz, another young man in Darel was killed by land sliding. Several travellers have stranded at Chilas, while Darel valley has lost road link to the capital city, Chilas. The torrential rains and floods in Diamer have inflicted heavy loss to properties, livestock, standing crops, water channels and power installations.

Gull Hamad Farooqui,reported to The Dardistan Times  from Chitral, that at least 5 people have died in Gobore, Ayun and Jonali Koch areas. Several dozens people are feared injured while a heavy loss to private and public property was reported. Adjoining valleys of Chitral have lost road access to the city due to heavy flood in Molain Gol. Here local people blame Irrigation Department as well as the Department of Communication for not being able to construct proper bridges. A rusted wood bridge at Molain Gol looks almost falling down.  Several roads including Garam Chashma, Kalash Valley, Mastuj, Booni, Torhkho, Broghul, are blocked. 

Ghizer District has also been badly affected. The road between Gilgit and Ghizar is blocked due to land sliding and flooding in streams. There is a major power breakdown and more than 70 houses have been reported damaged. In Punyal, Gupis, Yasin, roads, walking trails, link roads, water channels have been damaged and people have started working on their own. There is no electricity in Yasin. Several villages such as Thoi, Darkhkot, Qurqolti are tremendously affected. 

Flash floods and land sliding have wreaked  havoc in District of Hunza-Nagar too. While the rains doused some regions, other were blanked with snow. The KKH is blocked on several location. An audio report published by Pamir Times confirmed that Shimshal Road was blocked in more than 25 locations. Distric Nagar, especially in Nagar main, Hisper and Hoper Valley, people are facing extreme challenges. 

In Baltistan all four districts have been affected. There is a serious communication and transportation breakdown. People are running out of supplies due to the closure of the KKH. The Daily K2, reported several injuries and loss of properties. The newspaper said that all government and non-governmental offices in Baltistan regions are closed. There is no internet, even newspapers were not delivered due to road blockages. 

The minister for Food and Livestock, Haji Janbaz khan has requested the Chief Minister of Gilgit Baltsitan to make a special tour of District Diamer to commiserate with people and understand their difficulties.