Flooded Chitral River renders five Reshun families homeless

Published July 10, 2024
A view of the eroded riverbank at Shader in Reshun village of Upper Chitral, forcing the villagers to vacate the area. — Dawn
A view of the eroded riverbank at Shader in Reshun village of Upper Chitral, forcing the villagers to vacate the area. — Dawn

CHITRAL: Five families were rendered homeless in Reshun village of Upper Chitral here on Wednesday morning as the swollen Chitral River has started eroding the village once again.

The flooded river has also eroded a segment of the Chitral-Shandur Road, which will disconnect Lower Chitral from Gilgit-Baltistan.

The displaced people told Dawn that after vacating their spacious houses, they would be constrained in tents. They recalled that as many as 18 villagers had so far lost their houses to the river during the last couple of years.

Qurban Ali Shah, Nasab, Chiragh and others said last year the irrigation department had completed a protection wall to save the village from floods at a huge cost of Rs60 million, but it did not withstand the high flood this year, and the village was exposed to the flooded river as before.

A widow with her two children is also among the affected families. She had to leave her house with tears in her eyes, and shift to a tent village in a mountainous slope.

Reshun village council chairman Ashfaq Afzal said the river had devastated the village from 2015 onwards, destroying over 400 meters of Chitral-Shandur Road passing through the village, more than 100 acres of fertile land and 24 houses. He said both the National Highway Authority and the irrigation department were responsible for the devastation as the former was the custodian of the road and the latter was responsible to protect the land from erosion.

He said NHA did not included the affected segment of the road in its ongoing Chitral-Shandur Road project, while the irrigation department squandered a huge amount of Rs60 million on the construction of a protection wall, which proved a ‘house of cards’ when the river swelled with the advent of summer season.

PPP district president Amirullah Khan said the river was constantly eroding the village, but the government was still unmoved.

Mastuj assistant commissioner Younus Khan, who visited the spot, told Dawn that non-food items had been delivered to the affected families on the direction of deputy commissioner Mohammad Irfanuddin. He said needs and losses of the affected people were being assessed to pay them compensation.

He said the district administration had written to the authorities concerned to conduct an inquiry against the irrigation department officials over the construction of a faulty bulwark, which failed to withstand the water pressure and protect the village from floods.

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2024

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