Balochistan’s coldest part Kan Mehtarzai; people brave brutal cold after the devastating floods

Rafiullah Mandokhail

QUETTA: Kan Mehterzai is the coldest area of Balochistan and winter temperatures drop to minus 16 in winter. Besides, the area has Asia’s second highest railway station after Tibet. Due to the elevation of the area, the locals made sturdy mud-stone houses and topped with corrugated iron sheets to avoid freeing of snow on their roofs. This area is also famous for its high quality apple which is famous all over the country due to its unique taste.

The flood affectees of Kan Mehtarzai area of Balochistan have been waiting for the last several months for government assistance for their losses after the August floods played havoc with their livelihood. Kan Mehterzai is among coldest areas of Balochistan and located about 100 kilometers from Quetta on Zhob National Highway. The floods affectees have lost their belonging and livelihood to the floods and now they are forced to put up with the area’s extreme cold.

The locals said, no assistance has been provided to them to rehabilitate their mud-stone houses in one of the coldest places of the province so far. They said, the people who are waiting in hope of getting assistance to rebuild their houses were spending their days and nights in partially damaged structures and ruins. Some well-off people managed to rebuild their houses after the floods.

Nizam ud Din, resident of Suri Mehterzai village told this scribe that the last August monsoon floods played havoc with their livelihood. He said that floods destroyed his apple crop, his house and agricultural properties. In addition to this, he said that his 500 apple trees and more than 25,000 in the union councils were unable to produce any yield due to damages caused by floods and torrential rains. He said that their village was located on the banks of a stream and waves of 25 to 30 feet high water passed through this during the floods. Nizam said that the floods washed away the mud brick homes, standing crops, protection works and uprooted decades old trees.
‘It was particularly hard on women and patients to travel on this road,’ he said.

Muhammad Amin Mehtarzai, a resident of the Asuzai Tallari village, which is located in the foothills of a mountain near the Kan Mehtarzai, said that he was staying at the home at the residence of a relative after the destruction of his home due to floods.

He said that authorities neither addressed their grievances nor extended any financial assistance to them. Muhammad Amin Mehtarzai said that their area was a backward village and lacked basic amenities; however, the recent floods and rains have also taken their toll on it. He said that only government assistance at his juncture could address the locals’ sense of deprivations.

‘A government-run girls school next to our home was inundated after the floods; however, months after the floods, the school has not been made functional,’ he lamented. He said that village school girls were waiting for government support to continue their studies.

‘An academic year of these girls has been wasted due to the destruction of school,’ he said. On the other hand, Balochistan government officials said that they were taking all possible steps to address the grievances of the flood affectees. However, the officials said that to address the affectees’ woes and compensation, they needed foreign assistance as the province was already hit by extreme poverty and financial crisis.