Tourists returning from Shandur stranded as flash floods wash away roads

Published July 4, 2022
Players in action during the final match of Shandur Polo Festival between Chitral and Gilgit teams on Sunday. — APP
Players in action during the final match of Shandur Polo Festival between Chitral and Gilgit teams on Sunday. — APP

PESHAWAR: Hundreds of tourists returning from Shandur Polo Festival in Upper Chitral have been stranded due to flood in three streams in Laspur area of the district, according to police and locals.

Police officials from the remote area told Dawn that flooding in at least three nullahs left about 1,000 to 1,500 vehicles stranded as local authorities were trying to reopen the roads.

Laspur area is situated about 130 kilometres north of Chitral town. It is located at the mouth of the Shandur Top, the highest polo ground in the world.

A police official, who did not want to be named, told Dawn that Harchin Gol, one of the hilly nullahs, flooded on Saturday night. He said that the flood washed away the bridge at Harchin Gol. He said that on Sunday, when the authorities nearly cleared the road after deploying heavy machinery, it again flooded and left hundreds of tourists marooned.

Official says flood likely to recede till Monday morning; Chitral-A beat Gilgit-A team by nine goals to clinch annual polo festival trophy

The official said that a vehicle was also washed away in the flood; however, there were no casualties.

He said that currently the hilly nullah was in high flood that would likely to recede by early hours of Monday work on repairing the road could be started. Similarly, nearby Shaidas Gol, another hilly stream, has also flooded.

However, he said that an alternate road for four wheel vehicles was opened on the other side of the Laspur River via Gasht village. He added that only four wheelers and motorbikes could use the road to bypass the Harchin and Shaidas nullahs.

The official said that a large number of tourists, who were returning from the three days polo festival, were stranded due to the flooding. He said that there was no relief in sight for them till Monday morning.

He said that spending the night would not be an issue for the tourists as most of them were already carrying tents with them. He said that they could pitch the tents anywhere in the villages.

Besides, he added, tourists usually also carried edibles items with them when they went to Shandur.

However, a resident of the area told Dawn that alternate road passing through Gasht village was also closed due to the flooding in the Gasht Gol nullah.

There was no official confirmation of Gasht Gol flooding.

However, the local said that the flooding left a large number of people stranded in three areas of Laspur.

Deputy Commissioners of both the Upper and Lower Chitral were not available for comments.

Earlier, Chitral-A beat the Gilgit-A team by nine goals to clinch the annual Shandur Polo Festival on Sunday. The final of the three days festival took place at the world’s highest polo ground of Shandur.

Thousands of tourists from across the country and other parts of the province attended the festival.

Inspector General of Frontier Corps North Maj Gen Adil Yameen was the chief guest on the occasion.

He distributed trophies among the players. Paragliders of Pakistan Army Physical Training School Abbottabad, paratroopers of army’s Special Services Group also performed at the closing ceremony of the festival.

Sor Laspur team of Chitral won the first day polo match by scoring 15 goals against their Ghizer opponents.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2022

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