BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: Authorities flown out dozens of stranded tourists, students and patients from Hunza and Chilas valleys in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) amid fears more rains could lash the region in the coming days.
The evacuation was made through army helicopters and C-130 plane which earlier brought supplies into G-B where a weather advisory predicted more rains and landslides in the next three days.
“About 93 stranded people including 12 foreigners have been flown into Gilgit from Hunza,” deputy commissioner Gilgit Hamza Salik told reporters on Thursday.
“They (foreigners) will be transported to Islamabad next day.”
According to another official, 21 students stranded in Chilas were airlifted to Pattan, Kohistan.
Meanwhile another massive landslide washed away Karakoram Highway (KKH) in Kohistan, dealing a blow to the efforts being made by frontier works organization and national highway authority to restore traffic on the highway which is the main supply line for the mountainous region.
“The landslide is huge. It has washed away a large portion of the highway,” said Shahab Uddin, a resident of Chilas.
The recent rains have damaged KKH, which is the only route connecting G-B with rest of the country, at more than 50 places from Gojal to Besham, resulting in shortage of food items and fuel.
Reports suggest that the stranded passengers in Kohistan, Diamer, Nagar and Hunza have not been able to get food as shops have also run out of supplies. Many passengers are crossing over huge boulders and mud on foot, risking their lives to reach their destinations.
According to an official in FWO, parts of the KKH upgraded recently got into bad shape owing to the landslides.
Minister works Dr Muhammad Iqbal told media on Wednesday restoration of traffic could take 10 to 15 days as the destruction is too much.
At least 14 people have died and six sustained injuries due to rains which lasted for over 48 hours and damaged hydropower projects that supply electricity to Gilgit town and elsewhere.