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    Heavy snow disrupts life in Galiyat, G-B

    ABBOTTABAD/GILGIT (AwesomePakistan.Net): Life in the majestic Galiyat valley once again came to a standstill following heavy snowfall in the region, while the Abbottabad-Murree Road, which is the main artery linking tourist points with Abbottabad, was completely blocked. Other link roads were already buried since the first snowfall of winter, paralysing life in the picturesque valley, local residents and the police told The Express Tribune on Wednesday.

    “There is a complete shutdown in the Galiyat valley following heavy snow”, told Galiyat DSP Jameeur Rehman told The Express Tribune.

    Locals said the fourth spell of snow, coupled with occasional rain, started lashing Galiyat valley during the early hours on Monday and continued intermittently till Wednesday evening.

    Plain areas have received up to two feet of snow, while higher altitude areas have recorded as much as 2.5 feet of snow.

    In the aftermath of the heavy snowfall, vehicular traffic on the Abbottabad-Murree Road was suspended completely.

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    Winter has arrived: Heavy snow, rain disrupts life in Hazara

    “It is completely blocked, while the inner roads linking several rural localities with Nathiagali and Abbottabad were already blocked,” Rehman added.

    He explained that the dismal performance of the contractor hired to clear the road was to blame.

    On the other hand, Shahid, a representative of the contractor, said machinery was being used to clear the snow whenever it stopped coming down, but during snowfall, it became difficult to keep the road usable as the surface quickly become slippery.

    This claim was, however, refuted by local resident Nadeem Karlal of Namli Maira, who told The Express Tribune that despite a break in snowfall for a few days, the contractor failed to clear the link roads.

    He accused the GDA of poor performance, due to which the Galiyat valley which attracts tourists during the snowy weather has become inaccessible for them GDA’s spokesperson Ahsan Hameed told that GDA was making all out efforts for clearing the roads but added they were facing difficulties due to the amount of snowfall. He claimed that the situation was likely to improve by Thursday.

    Gilgit-Baltistan

    Meanwhile, in Gilgit a weather alert has been issued forecasting heavy rain and snowfall.

    The Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) region is facing the brunt of climate change and is considered to be one of the worst affected regions in the country owing to fluctuating changes in the weather.

    The recent weather-alert, forecasting heavy rains and snowfall in the mountainous G-B region is but an extreme example of the havoc being wreaked in the area.

    The warning is said to be vital in the backdrop of destruction caused by floods and landslides in this region over the past seven years.

    “There are extreme weather changes shaping up which may trigger landslides and flooding during the next three days,” read a statement issued by the deputy commissioner’s office on Wednesday.

    “People are advised against travelling in areas vulnerable to landslides.”

    According to the statement, people must stay away from lakes and nullahs to avoid loss in a region which environmentalists call a “ticking bomb” for being prone to various disasters.

    Heavy snowfall paralyses life in Gilgit-Baltistan

    Specifically mentioning Haramosh and Bagrote valleys, which is surrounded by 13 glacial lakes, the weather alert asked people to shift to safer places from the vulnerable areas.

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    Gilgit Deputy Commissioner Hamza Salick asked concerned departments to remain on high alert to avoid emergencies.

    Meanwhile, heavy snowfall paralysed life in Astore and Naltar valleys besides blocking roads amidst subzero temperatures.

    According to reports, landslides triggered by rains also blocked Karakoram Highway.

    The air link between Gilgit, Skardu and Islamabad is already suspended for the last some days.

    WWF G-B chief Dr Babar Khan while talking to The Express Tribune recently said there are 7,000 glaciers in the Himalaya, Hindu Kush and Karakoram ranges and climate change formed another 2,500 lakes around them.

    “Of these 2,500 lakes, 52 are highly dangerous and may pose serious threats to the population downstream in case of a slight tremor,” he said.

    Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2017


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