Severe Weather Disruptions in Gilgit-Baltistan: Landslides, Road Blockades, and Travel Warnings

"Severe Weather Disruptions in Gilgit-Baltistan: Landslides, Road Blockades, and Travel Warnings"

Gilgit-Baltistan, a region known for its breathtaking landscapes and mountainous terrain, is currently facing severe disruptions due to intermittent rain and snowfall. The unexpected weather patterns have triggered landslides, blocking major roads, including the strategic Karakoram Highway and Baltistan Road, at several locations. This has left thousands of passengers, including children, women, and senior citizens, stranded in extremely cold temperatures, with electricity and communication networks also severely affected.

The landslides, caused by a combination of rain in lower areas and heavy snowfall in upper regions, have led to the blockade of critical transport routes. Specifically, the Karakoram Highway faced blockades at Achar Nallah in Kohistan and the Thore area due to rockfalls. Similarly, Baltistan Road was obstructed at multiple points in the Roundu area of Skardu, affecting countless passengers traveling to and from Baltistan. Other affected areas include the Ghizer-Shandur Road in the Bargho area, leading to further disconnections of link and inter-district roads.

The situation has been exacerbated by the slippery conditions of roads in upper areas, where temperatures have plummeted to below minus six degrees Celsius. The snowfall, ranging from three to six inches in various parts of the region, has not only made travel hazardous but has also led to a temporary suspension of flights between Islamabad and the cities of Skardu and Gilgit, further isolating the region.

In response to this crisis, Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Haji Gulbar Khan has mobilized the GB Disaster Management Authority (GBDMA), along with divisional commissioners, deputy commissioners, and administrative officers across all districts, to prepare for road rehabilitation and to assist affected individuals. The chief minister’s proactive measures aim to mitigate the impact of the severe weather and ensure the safety and well-being of the residents and travelers in the region.

The government has also issued a weather alert, predicting continued heavy rainfall and snowfall from February 19 to 27, advising residents and visitors to avoid unnecessary travel. These measures highlight the challenges faced by Gilgit-Baltistan due to its geographical and climatic conditions and underscore the importance of preparedness and responsiveness in dealing with natural disasters.

As the region braces for more adverse weather, the focus remains on ensuring the safety of stranded passengers and the swift restoration of transportation links. The resilience of Gilgit-Baltistan’s people and the concerted efforts of local authorities are crucial in overcoming the challenges posed by this severe weather disruption

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