On the 16th of March, a 4.6 magnitude earthquake hit Skardu. This earthquake was neither the worst that the region has seen, nor the worst that seismic experts predict that the area will see given its position on the Himalayan Tectonic Interface belt.
While the earthquake was not devastating in the way that the 7.6 magnitude earthquake in Kashmir in 2005 was, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 90,000 people, it has exposed and put up for scrutiny a ticking infrastructural timebomb that exists in the region.
For weeks after the earthquake, the Gilgit-Skardu road remained blocked due to continuous landsliding. Because the Janglot-Skardu highway is the only connecting tributary to the region fit for commercial use, its blockage resulted in stranded travellers, a shortage in fuel that resulted in soaring prices, and a commodities crisis in Skardu.
Skardu remained closed for a week, reopening to limited passenger traffic Friday night (March 25). The earthquake affected 6,000 households, damaged 36 irrigation channels; eight link roads and 12 water supply channels besides disrupting cellular connectivity.