ABBOTTABAD: At least 50 houses were damaged in a massive landslide in a village of Havelian tehsil here on Sunday.
A Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) spokesman, Latifur Rehman, said that 50 houses were damaged in Poona village due to the landslide. Local residents said the landslide had cut off about 25 villages from rest of the region.
Abbottabad Deputy Commissioner Capt (r) Khalid Mehmood told Dawn that rescue teams led by assistant commissioner Mir Raza Ozgan had been sent to the affected area. He said there was no shortage of food, medicines and tents, adding all possible steps would be taken to rescue people and minimise the damage.
The deputy commissioner said teams of communications and works department and Erra had also reached the area and started initial survey and relief work.
Latifur Rehman denied the reports that the landslide had blocked a stream turning it into a lake in the area.
Local residents said the landslide started to happen on Friday and continued on Sunday.
They said a heavy boulder had damaged Havelian-Sajikot Satora road and 12 houses. They said the people had vacated five more houses on Sunday on the directives of the district administration as more landslides were imminent. There was no loss of life reported. However, residents feared more damage if the rocks continued rolling down the hill.
They said 30 to 40 more houses of Poona village would be affected if further landslide took place.
Deputy Speaker National Assembly Murtaza Javed Abbasi told Dawn that the federal government had directed the authorities to restore the communication link between Havelian and Sajikot Satora. He said Erra, Nespak and NDMA had been mobilised to remove the debris from the road.
Mr Abbasi said the provincial authorities, including the chief secretary and chief engineer works department, were in the know of the incident just when it happened, but no team was sent to rescue the stranded people.
The deputy speaker also supervised rescue work with local MPA Aurangzeb Nulhota.
SHO Nara police station, Mehtab Nadeem, said alternative routes were made to reach the marooned villages.
Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2015