Gilgit - Baltistan

Water level in Sheri Baig Glacial Lake, near Hussaini Village, rising dangerously

The Sheri Baig Lake that endangers life and property of Hussaini Village

Report and Photographs by Asghar Khan

Hussaini, May 11: Water level in a glacial lake, called Sheri Baig lake, near Hussaini Gojal Hunza is rising dangerously, posing great danger to life and property. Two big lakes have been formed inside the Ghulkin glacier because of the rapid melting of this huge mass of ice, sand and rocks.

The local people told this scribe that water level in the lake was rising at an average of at least two feets, on daily basis. The local community have informed the Local Council, Community Emergency Response Team, and the Local Administration. Members of these organizations have visited the site and reported their observations pertaining to this unusual change to the respective institutions about.

The glacier, historically, has been moving towards and away from the KKH but formation of a huge lake is a new and dangerous phenomena. Even more dnagerous is the rapid rise in water level. If the water level keeps on rising at its current rate within days it will break its banks and flood the entire village. This also poses great dangers for the the KKH, irrigation channels and a drinking water uplift Project.

Two glacial lake outburst in Passu, north of Hussaini, and Ghulkin, South of Hussaini, respectively, were reported by Pamir Times within the past five months and now the formation of these two lakes rings alarming bells, yet again. The outburst in Ghulkin had taken place from the southern part of this glacier, facing Ghulking Village, while the current lakes are formed towards the northern side of the glacier, above Hussaini village.

We urge the Northern Areas administration to conduct a Danger Assessment Survey of the entire Gojal Valley and develop strategies to minimize the threats by developing an Early Warning System, Disaster Recovery Plans and other related mechanisms to prepare the community on solid grounds. FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance has been engaged in developinig such mechanisms in the region and they should collaborate with the government sharing their experiences in this regard.

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  1. The Cluster Emergency Relief Team needs to be more active in order to avoid any major loss in future. I think Amin Bhai has remained engaged with local council Gulmit to develop a crisis management plan.
    We need his feedback to further work on this plan after mapping the major risk areas.


  2. first of all iwould like to thanks pamir times for identifying the threat indeed a serious threat. nw the people of both village and especially villagers of hussiani should become more careful and proactive.
    i would also request FOCUS and local council for gulmit to further educate the people of the area about the threat and its consequences.

  3. Well this seems a a major risk situation, as I see your reports and the photographs. Though I am not aware of the exact location of the lake formation, and how vulnerable it is to the village, technically speaking, as only technical experts could assess the real risk.

    The CERT and LC are not equiped and lack the capacity to assess this risk, technically and propose any mitigation measure. I heard that the CERT has informed FHA office in Gilgit and as you reported the local administration also visited the site.

    What is needed probably is the CERT and the village volunteers continue to monitor the situation and report daily to the council and local admin. May be they should also review and simulate their emergency evacuation and response plans, without creating much hype and panic.

    Secondly, the Local council sends SOS to Regional council and FHA and the district/Na admin about the situation, pressing them to send experts to assess the situation and propose emergency measures.

    Amin Beg

  4. thanks to asghar for identifying the area it need quick communiction with FOCUS and other native NGOs to work over there because it is a big threat for hussaini village, it is my requist to ghulkin villagers to help the native village

  5. I em really thankful to the Pamir Times for their proactiveness in the dangerious situation on Ghulkin Glacier and it need to be consider seriously by the communities and take bold steps to control the situation proactively with the help and support of Government departments and other NGOs ,

  6. The rise in the water level could produce a devastating effect on the nearby villages.The most appropriate option in my view regarding its regulation and control is to immediately get the assistace of some experts prior to any local effort.
    The experts can provide some better means and ways for its retention and immediate control.
    The retention power of the lake if weakened could lead to bursting of the lake resulting in flood and may ultimately lead to huge loss.
    Immediate steps are really a need to overcome the situation.

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