Hundreds of people have been restrained at Golain valley due to disconnecting their land route.
By Gul Hamaad Farooqi
CHITRAL: Hundreds of people have been restrained at Golain valley due to disconnecting their land route. The road to the beautiful valley of Chitral and the tourist destination of Golain has been blocked for the last one week due to the collapse of the bridges and damaging of main road due to flood, which has caused severe food shortage for the people trapped in the valley.
Thousands of people trapped in the valley are waiting for help. The victims say that their lives and property are in serious danger and they no longer want to stay here.
The tourist spot of Gulen Valley has been badly affected due to recent rains and continuous flooding as well as by GLOF event. Some 15 houses have been completely destroyed while 40 houses were partially damaged. Due to floods, the road to Bermogh, Astoor and Jangal villages has been cut for the last 15 days. 100 families of Gujjar community have also been affected in the hilly pastures beyond the forest, but they have not been contacted yet due to no access. The local people have made a temporary swing bridge with of rope and wooden pieces on self help basis but it is also very dangerous. The affected people are suffering from extreme mental stress and fear and spend the night under the open sky by keeping their belongings under the open sky. The affected people say that their lives and property are in danger and they no longer want to stay here.
Elderly people of the area said that there was a flood here in 1930, 1946, 1977 but it passed its way. The main reason for the flooding today is that the WAPDA department has built a water dam in this valley for the 107 megawatt Golain hydroelectric power plant. AS boulds and rocks were disturbed it Took the machine up and down and replaced the system and now it’s constantly flooding here.
Due to frequent floods, the women and children of the area are also very scared. These women say that they should be shifted to a safe place because now their lives and property are not safe here.
Our correspondent visited this valley and had to cross a very dangerous rope bridge into the flood water. On his way to last village of Golain the path was clear beneath a mosque, but when he came back, the flood water was flowing inside the mosque and in a few moments, the mosque was also damaged by flood.
Due to not knowing the routes, our team got stuck inside the flooded relay, seeing which the women standing nearby started crying and prayed in the flood and had to run inside the flooded relay to save their lives. Women, children and elderly people whose houses were destroyed in the valley have taken shelter in a local graveyard which is on a little higher from the river. These women said that here they are afraid of ants, scorpions, snakes and other insects.
Two mosques were also ruined due to flash floods in this valley. The imam in front of the mosque told our correspondent that now there is no place left even to pray in congregation (ba Jumat) . The road completely blocked for all types of traffic due to damaging of road and 3 bridges. People are compelled to carry food and drinking water on their shoulders and backs for many kilometers away.
The victims say that if their communication system remains disconnected, there is a fear that they will not have anything to eat and drink. Even now these people are forced to live a very poor life. It is fear that these affected people may face starvation. The people whose houses were destroyed by the flood still have their belongings stuck under the debris but cannot get them out. These homeless people have kept their belongings in high places and often in these relief camps, children were also seen who lived by eating corn stalks due to shortage of food.
The affected people demanded from the government agencies to relocate them to a safe place and give them land equal to their land.
They also demanded for immediate compensation so as to reconstruct their damaged houses before winter season. so that these people do not suffer from hunger and thirst and sever cold weather. A woman was sitting in the relief camp whose eye was injured by driftwood during the flood when she was running to save her life. She was injured after hitting her, but she could not go to the hospital due to no access and damaging of road. There are also many heart patients who have run out of medicines and the patients are unable to go to the hospitals as land connectivity is cut off.
It should be noted that due to the recent rains and continuous floods in the Golain valley, the road and three bridges of the valley have washed away due to which these people are disconnected from other parts of the country but also from Chitral and many people have to walk several kilometres by feet to carry edible things, food items and drinking water as the main pipeline of drinking and irrigation water also damaged by flood
This area also hit by GLOF (Glacial Lake outburst flood) a few years back and Mrs Haleem Khan sister of former Prime minister Imran Khan also had strained in flood who was rescued by helicopter which tried three times for landing. As well as the area had damaged by flash flood due to GLOF event and total infrastructures had been ruined.