BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: The plummeting temperature, triggered by fresh snowfall, has compounded miseries of residents living in quake-hit areas in Ghizer valley of Gilgit – Baltistan (G-B).
The earthquake that struck Pakistan recently also hit G-B, affecting several valleys. However district Ghizer’s Fandar valley was among the worst affected area where hundreds of houses caved in, dealing a blow to the economy of the people majority of whom are poor.
“The situation has deteriorated as people have lost their rations, cattle, trees and house to the quake,” said Inayat Abdali, a youth from Fandar valley, which is an administratively a tehsil in the Ghizer district.
“The temperature has dropped to – 4 degree Celsius and people have no place to take shelter even during nights,” said Abdali who was part of youth group held a protest demonstration outside press club Gilgit on Sunday.
“In our tehsil at least 360 house have been destroyed while about 400 houses partially damaged and living in the cracked houses is like asking for miseries.”
Holding banners, the youth lamented government inaction saying they would block Gilgit – Ghizer road if immediate steps weren’t taken to compensate the affected families.
Ehsan Karim, another youth, said 80 percent of the houses in the eight villages of Fandar were either destroyed or partially damaged in the recent quake, adding insult to the injuries of the poor villagers.
“The people are poor and lack resources to rebuild their houses at their own. But the government also seems to be disinterested in our issues.”
Karim said the government authorities held photo session while distributing food items donated by nongovernmental organizations instead of paying compensation to the affected families. He said contending on food items wouldn’t help them see through the harsh winters.
The protestors demanded compensation of Rs2million each for demolished houses and Rs1.5million for partially damaged houses.
Director General Disaster Management Authority Asim Raza said compensation would be given to the affected families only after completion of a survey being conducted by district administration. “We have not yet received survey report from deputy commissioner,” Raza told The Express Tribune
He said the survey report will be verified by the army to ensure money reaches to the deserving people.
“We will pay the compensation after verifying the survey reports from army,” said Raza.
As part of government’s response to the quake, Raza said food items, blankets and tents were provided in all districts immediately through deputy commissioners.