12,000 people facing food shortage in Arkari valley due to road blockage

Gul Hamaad Farooqi


The only road to the Arkari valley remains blocked since Feb 5 due to 46 avalanches at different points. The 12,000 people of the valley are still stranded and have to travel the 70 kilometers long distance littered with the huge avalanches on foot to reach Chitral town and back. 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 are still stranded in the valley who facing acute shortage of food, medicines and other essential commodities as well as there is 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 has 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. Women and children were carrying placards and banners while most of the women were holding lanterns and candles to show the lack of facilities such as electricity etc.
They said that are living in darkness because it is not possible to carry kerosene oil from Chitral market due to blocking of road by snowfall and avalanches. After demanding that the government should take practical and urgent steps to open the road, A patient was also expired on his way when he was carrying to hospital in cot on shoulders because blocking of road.
People of the area carrying their edible things and food on their back travelling by feet over 70 KM long road covered by snow and avalanches. But it is not possible for patients to cross this risky and dangerous road because Arkari river flowing beneath the road while boulders and rock with avalanche rolling from above.
The valley is situated near Pak Afghan border area adjacent to Badakhshan province of Afghanistan. Residents of the area said that medicines and some goods were carried in 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. Because a number of patients are still lying on bed in the valley and waiting to reach hospital or for their death entirely.

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