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CHITRAL: Flash flood triggered by torrential rains washed away 27 houses in Osiak village of Drosh town early in the morning of Eidul Azha here on Wednesday. However, no loss of life was reported as the villagers were informed about the impending danger well in time. The villagers said that about half-an-hour after start of rain it was announced through loudspeakers to rush to the adjacent village. They said that they left the place, leaving behind all their household items and cattle. “The village was hit by the flood seconds after we left it. The village is now filled with mud, pebbles and boulders, but fortunately there is no loss of life,” said Azhar Ali, one of the villagers. He said that everyone was running out of the village with some carrying a child on back and some were in such haste that they had no time to wear shoes and were bare-footed. Mr Ali said that the villagers were busy in making preparations for the Eid when they were rendered homeless. They passed two nights under open sky, but now tents had been provided to them by the district administration along with kitchenware and food items. The water supply scheme was also washed away along with the road, making transportation of relief items an arduous task. Malakand division commissioner Zaheerul Islam and additional ADC Minhasuddin visited the affected village on Friday and distributed relief items, including shelters, among the affected people. The commissioner said that compensation would be paid to the affected people in the shortest possible time so that their sufferings were mitigated. Earlier, MNA Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali and MPA Maulana Hidayatullah visited the village and contributed Rs150,000 from their own pockets for providing food to the affected.

FESTIVALS: The Eidul Azha festival and the Uchal festival of Kalash community in the valleys of Bumburate, Birir and Rumbur coincided with each other this year as it happens after every 36 years. The date of the three-day Uchal festival is fixed as August 21 to 23, which is a thanksgiving occasion for the harvest and threshing of the wheat crop in the valleys. Lavish distribution of cheese and other milk products are made to mark this occasion, while singing and dancing is part of each Kalash festival. It was a rare occasion to see the two communities celebrate their rituals simultaneously giving a message of harmony and amity to the tourists visiting the area.

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2018

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