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Road blockage triggers food shortage, paralyzes life in Chitral’s Arkari Valley

CHITRAL: Arkari Valley in Chitral is facing infrastructural disconnect for more than 20 days after deadly avalanches, prompting food shortage for the villagers.

The valley houses at least 12,000 people and they are still stranded and have to travel the 70 kilometers long distance with roads covered with the huge avalanches. The valley is situated near Pak Afghan border area adjacent to Badakhshan province of Afghanistan.

The people of the cut-off area complained against the provincial government for not clearing the only road to the area of snow and boulders.

Village council chairman Sher Muhammad said that 12000 people were still stranded in the valley and facing acute shortage of food, medicines and other essential commodities as well as there was no hospital. He said that the local administration had reserved only one tractor to clear the road blocked by over 46 avalanches which is not possible.

Razi Man Shah, vice chairman of village council, said that the people were stranded in the valley which had no basic facilities of life including schools, hospitals, electricity or even a basic health unit. The area was also facing a severe shortage of food items.

After their repeated calls fell on deaf ears, women and children took to the streets carrying placards and banners while most of the women were holding lanterns and candles to show the lack of facilities such as electricity.  They said that are living in darkness because it is not possible to carry kerosene oil from Chitral market due to blockage road caused by snowfall and avalanches.

They demanded that the government should take practical and urgent steps to open the road,

Recently, a patient also passed away on his way due to road blockage. People of the area transport their edible things and food on their back travelling by feet over 70 KM long road covered with snow.

Residents of the area said that medicines and some goods were supplied via a military helicopter only once but after that no official visited the area.

They demanded from demanded from provincial as well as federal government for deploying excavators, bulldozers and heavy machinery to remove debris of avalanche and snow to open the road for traffic so as to enable the affected people to carry food and essential things in vehicles.




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