HRCP seeks help for Gojal people
LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called upon the government and the international humanitarian organisations to come to the rescue of 25,000 Gojal residents facing difficulties due to a landslide at Ataabad and construction of a temporary dam on Hunza River.
Addressing a press conference along with representatives of residents at the Lahore Press Club on Tuesday, HRCP Chairperson Asma Jehangir said Gojal should be declared a calamity-stricken area and a special relief package be announced for the affected population.
One of the representatives of residents said an area of 10,000 kanals and 50,000 trees had been flooded due to formation of an artificial lake after landslide.
He said Karakoram Highway (KKH) had been closed and Gojal completely cut off from the rest of the country due to the landslide on Jan 4. The Shishkat area along the KKH had been submerged due to formation of an artificial lake as a result of the landslide. An under-construction bridge would also be submerged during the next few weeks. Bridges on KKH could be washed away by water flowing from glaciers during summer as arrangements were not made for draining it out.
The government should make arrangements for draining out water from the artificial lake with the assistance of the Chinese engineers.
He said more than 6,000 families had been forced to leave their homes due to formation of a temporary lake. Students and patients were shifted from the area by helicopters in the beginning.
The service had now been discontinued. Only boats were being used for movement of the people and transportation of goods. He said the government had promised to drain out water from the artificial lake in 20 days but only 15 per cent work had been done till date as the excavators were working for only a few hours daily.
He said the government should announce a relief package for Gojal farmers who would not be able to grow potatoes this year. He said the farmers supported themselves by growing potatoes. An average farmer family earned Rs60,000 every year from the crop.