Come rain, snow or sleet: Snowfall blankets G-B mountains

The mountains in Gilgit were covered in snow after the season’s first snowfall. PHOTO: EXPRESS TRIBUNE

GILGIT: Heavy snowfall blanketed mountains of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) on Thursday, ending months-long dry spell that had affected the human life and ecology of this mountain region as well.

“Thank God the dry spell is finally over,” said Nauman Malik, a resident of Gilgit on Thursday, as mountains received snowfall, drizzling in all the towns.

Snowfall also occurred  in high altitudes of Astor valley, Hunza, Gojal and Baltistan region.

Scientists say that if the northern parts of the country receive less snow and rains in winter, the country will face water shortage in the summer, a reason that directly affects crops production in Punjab and other provinces.

The dry spell had also caused respiratory infections especially among children as temperatures plummeted to -17 Celsius in some parts including Astore, Skardu Gojal and Ghizer in December.

“The dry weather in winter is usually bad for people especially children if it doesn’t rain for long,” said Dr Iftikhar Ahmed, a child specialist. With the rain, a lot of  dust, allergy and germs  are gone.

Pakistan International Airlines also cancelled scheduled flights to the town in view of the inclement weather, forcing hundreds of passengers to travel via the dilapidated Karakoram Highway (KKH).

Passengers reaching Gilgit from Rawalpindi by KKH said that the rain had triggered minor landslides at
various points.

By Shabbir Mir

Published in The Express Tribune, December 31st, 2010.

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