Gilgit Baltistan [PoK], October 31 (ANI): More than a year has passed since devastating floods created mayhem in the illegally occupied territory of Gilgit Baltistan. Bridges collapsed, farmlands were ravaged, the households were inundated but the proxy administration of Pakistan did nothing to save and salvage the victims from nature’s fury.
Although the waters receded, leaving debris of disaster- the residents were still hopeful of starting a new life with the assistance of local administration. But to their dismay, more than a year has passed, and the survivors are still rummaging for hope and little compensation from the apathetic government.
Iqbal Hussain, a local resident from Gilgit Baltistan speaking about the aftermath of devastating floods, said, “During the floods of July 5, 2022, our farmlands were battered, floods caused massive deforestation, our infrastructure crashed but the administration has provided nothing to us. However, they did provide a little ration but that too was less than what we required for survival. The administration received aid and large funds from outside but we don’t understand what happened to it! The funds and aid did not reach us. The affected public- who lost their livelihood, their lands, their homes- have not received anything till now.”
Residents complain, that the large funds and aid the illegal administration received from outside never reached the victims of floods in Gilgit Baltistan. The aid and funds were either taken away by the local administration or never released from Islamabad for the welfare of flood victims in Gilgit Baltistan. “Winters are coming” and residents are left to shiver in the harsh cold– in their tents and makeshift households instead of providing at least pucca houses.
“The (proxy) administration of Pakistan has not done anything for the region. Winters are coming, people are still residing in makeshift houses or tents. The other small floods of last year battered Sher Qilla Valley and devastated many households and farms, people are leading miserable lives there. The only little aid we got was from local NGOs, we did not receive anything from Pakistan’s stooge administration”, Amin Mohammad, a victim of the 2022 floods said.
The only aid they received was from “local NGOs” or social groups. The residents say, more than their houses, the agricultural lands they lost during floods have caused greater misery. They say the government has taken no step to restore their agricultural fields. The farmlands in Gilgit Baltistan are the primary sources of survival. Most of the general public is dependent on self-sustained farming in Gilgit Baltistan in the absence of any industries or job avenues.
“More than their houses, their farming lands are devastated. There are few crops such as corn or wheat we used to grow but now due to floods, all these farmlands have become barren. Nothing has been done to revive those lands. The people who were in the business of animal husbandry, too are in miserable condition due to the unavailability of fodder for their cattle. But there is no help from the administration” Amin Mohammad told ANI, while emphasising the importance of natural resources for the people of Gilgit Baltistan.
For more than seventy years Islamabad has stripped Gilgit Baltistan of its natural resources and caused massive deforestation in the region. The floods and landslides are just the add-ons that aggravate the miseries residents have been facing under the illegal occupation of Pakistan for decades. (ANI)
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