Snowfall, avalanches cut off GB, Chitral villages

Published February 24, 2023
DARKUT (Gilgit-Baltistan): Locals walk through snow as they carry a woman on charpoy to a nearby health facility after access roads to the area were cut off due to an avalanche.—Photo by the writer
DARKUT (Gilgit-Baltistan): Locals walk through snow as they carry a woman on charpoy to a nearby health facility after access roads to the area were cut off due to an avalanche.—Photo by the writer

 DARKUT (Gilgit-Baltistan): Locals walk through snow as they carry a woman on charpoy to a nearby health facility after access roads to the area were cut off due to an avalanche.—Photo by the writer
DARKUT (Gilgit-Baltistan): Locals walk through snow as they carry a woman on charpoy to a nearby health facility after access roads to the area were cut off due to an avalanche.—Photo by the writer

GILGIT: Two villages in Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtu­nkhwa have been cut off from other areas for the past 15 days due to heavy snowfall and avalanches, according to locals.

The access roads to Darkut village in the Ghi­zer district of GB and Broghil village in KP’s Chitral district are bloc­ked, leaving locals stran­ded and without food, medicine and other necessary items.

Karim Shah, a resident of Darkut village in the Yasin Valley of Ghizer, told Dawn that his village has been cut off from other areas of the country for the past 15 days, leading to an acute shortage of food items.

According to the GB chief secretary, Darkut village received heavy snowfall from Feb 13-17. Another bout of snowfall on Wednesday night has aggravated the situation.

The situation was worsened by a strong downwind which resulted in slab avalanches at various places between Umalsat and Darkut.

Ayub Shah, a local body member from Yasin valley told Dawn that Darkut is a remote area with 250 households that are facing serious difficulties.

Recently, a video from the area went viral in which locals were carrying a sick woman on a charpoy as they waded through inches of snow. The villagers have demanded the authorities remove the snow and open the access road.

According to a statement from the chief secretary’s office, the work to reopen the road started on Feb 19 by the GB’s works department. But, some boulders could not be moved with the available machinery. An excavator was sent to the site but it also failed to clear the road.

Now a wheel dozer is on its way from Gahkuch to open the road.

The administration is continuously monitoring the situation and all efforts are being made to reopen the road, the statement added.

Around 15km north of Darkut, 280 households in Broghil village of upper Chitral are facing a similar shortage of food and medicines as the road leading to the area has been blocked due to heavy snowfall.

A local, Sher Amin, told Dawn that the road connecting Broghil village with Chitral and Ghizer has been blocked for the last two weeks.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2023

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