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.