Landslides force villagers to vacate houses in Battagram
BATTAGRAM / SHANGLA / MANSEHRA: The authorities asked around 200 families of a village in Allai tehsil of Battagram district on Wednesday to leave their houses and move to safe places because of an imminent threat of landslides.
The administration of the tehsil informed the people of Thandol village that cracks in mountains could cause severe landslides.
In Shangla, people have been suffering from devastation caused by rain and a fresh spell of heavy rain forced more villagers to move to safe places.
Main roads in the district, including Karakoram Highway and Swat-Besham road, have remained blocked at different places for a week. A large number of people going to Gilgit-Baltistan are stranded in Besham.
Bakht Alam, former nazim of Chakesar tehsil, told Dawn on phone that a severe shortage of foodstuff was feared in the area because of closure of roads. He said prices of items of daily use had gone up manifold.
Naveed Ahmed of Damorai area told Dawn that the people of Karshat Jai and Ajmer villages had been forced to leave their homes.
In Kohistan, rescuers failed on Wednesday to trace 23 of the 29 members of a family who were buried under a mass of rock and land on Monday. They were hit by a massive landslide in Thor Nullah Bari area.
Rescuers had retrieved two bodies and rescued four injured people on Tuesday.
There was no excavator or any other machine or equipment in the area and helicopters could not reach there because of bad weather, district police officer Ali Rehmat told reporters.
He said Razia Bibi and Gulzar, who were rescued on Tuesday, had fractured their legs.
Mohammad Safee, Nazree, Zigdom and Mohammad Shafee and his wife survived, while all other members of their families were still under the debris.
Mohammad Shafee told reporters, “We have lost our entire family as all 23 people are still buried under the mass of land.”
Personnel of the Frontier Works Organisation and the district administration tried hard the whole day on Wednesday to clear the blocked portions of Karakoram Highway.
A bridge and a 70-foot portion of the highway, swept away by flood torrents near Khial area, would take weeks to be repaired. However, an important 170km portion would be reopened to traffic soon.
According to the FWO, the highway was blocked at over 20 places in Kohistan and Gilgit-Baltistan.
When contacted, Assistant Commissioner of Shangla Taimor Afridi said a fresh spell of rains had hampered relief and rehabilitation work. But, he said the National Highway Authority had cleared the Besham-Ranyal road.
Hamayun Babar from Battagram, Umar Bacha from Shangla and Nisar Ahmad Khan from Mansehra contributed to this report.