On Jan 4, 2010, a massive landslide hit the Hunza river and a natural lake (Attabad Lake) was formed on the Hunza river, blocking the only way of communication of the Hunza valley with the rest of the country, i.e the Karakoram Highway.

Somehow the work in the discharge of water from the lake is satisfactory but the government has failed to discharge the water wholly.

Since the day when this disaster took place no proper attention is given to the valley under disaster by the government. The basic needs of the people are not fulfilled by government representatives of the area.

The big problem faced by the local population is the lack of health facilities. A 10-bed hospital is built in the tehsil headquarters of Gojal (Gulmit), upper Hunza, but there are no medicines available for the deprived population. Not a single doctor has been deputed to the hospital by the government.

Another incident that took place in the upper Hunza valley was the tragic van accident that took the lives of nine people. This was the first-ever incident that took place in the history of the Hunza valley. This incident took place on Aug 22 on the newly-built KKH near the Hussaini village. The incident claimed the lives of two people on the spot and another 14 injured were brought by the only boat service to the district headquarters hospital where three of the injured died due to the lack of medicines and a doctor in the hospital.

The only doctor in the Gojal valley, who is not on government payroll, tried her best to heal the injured but all in vain in the absence of facilities. The other injured were shifted to a private hospital in Aliabad tehsil by boat but there was no fuel for the government hospital ambulance to take immediate steps in response.

The local people arranged the fuel for the ambulance from their own pocket. On reaching the hospital in Aliabad tehsil, four more of the injured breathed their last there while the other injured were shifted to AKHSP hospital in the Gilgit city.

In this way nine people lost their lives in the tragic accident.

As the area is already hit by a natural disaster for three years, the people are in a traumatic situation. Why isn’t the government taking this disaster hit-area seriously?

The government is still not able to provide medicines for the hospital, nor is it in a position to depute a doctor for the 25,000 people. The chief minister, governor and health secretary of Gilgit Baltistan owe an explanation to us for this incident. The government should take necessary steps to provide the basic needs of the people in the area. I would request our representatives to play their due role to help people in their day-to-day life.

TARIQ RAHIM BAIG Gulmit, Hunza

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