August 05, 2006

Mansehra photos 2

This group of photos were taken the last time we got to Mang and Boli – just about! It had rained heavily the night before and so the road to Balakot was in a bad state – there were landslides on the road on every stretch, although fortunately no collapsed or washed away sections of road.
Balakot Road Landlides

Water from the mountain streams and rivers flowed across the road in many places, making for some interesting scenes. In the next photo, the waters had deposited a lot of rocks and gravel which made crossing through the fast flowing water difficult for some vehicles! A traffic jam ensued and everyone got out to watch.
Balakot Road Ford

On the left is a Suziki pick up (found everywhere in Pakistan since a factory was set up in Karachi) piled ridiculously high with furniture so that it wobbled precariously and got stuck amongst the rocks until a tractor cleared a path across the ford. The Shell tanker also got stuck, right in the middle of the ford, and we worried it might stop all the traffic along the road, until some people were able to dig some of the rock away from it's wheels and with much shuffling backwards and forwards, it finally got going. The water went down a bit and we had no trouble getting across – even little cars like a Daewoo Matiz made it. It was a fun addition to the journey, even if it did make it take a bit longer than expected.
We finally got to Mang safely – it turned out that it had only rained between Mansehra town and Balakot, but not beyond, so our favourite bridge (see previous entry) was still hanging on! The roof struts were going on to the lower buildings, and our engineer, Bashir, was very insistent with the builders that they get the roof on as soon as possible to protect against the rains.
Mang School Progress

Finally, back at home in Mansehra, Robert and I have been involved in a little flood alleviation project of our own, on the strategically important route to the chiapatti shop!
Local Flood Alleviation

A low point in the road seems to collect water, gravel and sand, making it rather difficult for all the people that walk along this way. Fortunately there is a deep drainage ditch alongside the road that we were able to dig a little channel to, draining the water from the road. The system is still working, days later, although continued deposits of gravel tend to try to block the entrance. Somebody else seems to have noticed, as further up the road on the way to the shop, 2 more drainage channels into the ditch have been cut by other people to take away the water flowing down the road.

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