Photo by Mujahid Shah
GILGIT: A mountain slop at yet another village of Nagar valley has started slipping down, posing threats to nearly 5000 people.
The village called Gulmat, which is about 65 kilometers northeast of Gilgit, has developed cracks.
It is also eight kilometers short of Fakar – a village facing a similar situation threatening 40 families.
“Only for the past one week, at least 90 kanals of land slipped down into the Hunza River and the process continues,” said Amir Haider, a person affected by the landslides.
“It has become impossible to sleep during night in the village as underground explosions continue to harass people,” he told Outpost.
Gulmat is the village of Mohammad Ali Akhtar, finance minister in Gilgit – Baltistan government.
A couple of days back, Akhtar and Deputy Commissioner Hunza-Nagar district Imran Ali Sultan visited the area and advised people against visiting the ‘cracked area’.
Haider said 14 families from the area have left the place on the advice of the officials and now living somewhere else with their relatives.
“Unfortunately this is all happening here,” said Mujahid Ali Shah, a landscape ecologist who lives in the area.
“The recent landslide is result of change in water course at the Hunza-Nagar River,” said Shah who has studied landscape ecology at the University of Greifswald and is teaching in Nagar valley at a government school.
“Over the past 30 years, the river has changed its course, resulting in erosion of the lower base of Ghulmat crest; as a result there have appeared 500 metre long and 0.5 to 1.5 feet wide cracks on the surface,” Shah said.
The ecologist suggested the government to either divert the water flow to its mature course by constructing 50-90 metres metal wall or construct 500 Metre metal wall along the southern bank of the Hunza-Nagar River. “It can best be done in winters when the flow of water in the river decreases. This will stop further erosion otherwise a massive landslide may create a temporary lake situation and flooding in the downstream areas,” said Shah.
A youth volunteer leader Syed Azfar Hussain asked government to train the youth to enable them to respond effectively and timely in disasters as the Karakoram mountain range - believed to lie on the fault line - is prone to disasters.
“We demand an immediate survey of the area through international experts to avoid any major disaster.”
Officials at the Chief Minister [CM] secretariat say directives have already been passed to the district management to ensure all possible assistance to the communities. “The government is doing its best to make lives of the people safe,” said a spokesman Sajjadul Haq.
“The local administration has been asked in this connection to extend all possible help to the people.”