Gilgit - Baltistan

FOCUS experts visit Ghulkin and surrounding glaciers

The Glacier area from where the water flows down to Chut Ghusth, Ghulkin

Hunza, May 26: A team of FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance paid an aerial visit to the Ghulkin, Gulmit, Passu and Batura glaciers after the Glacial Lake Outburst Floods erupted, causing huge damages to properties at Chut Ghoosth Ghulkin on May 21 and May 25. The team analysed the situation of Glacial Lakes formed within Ghulkin glaciers, because of faster melting of ice,  in order to devise future strategy to save huge losses to the surrounding settlements.

The visiting team comprised of Nusrat Nasab, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, FOCUS, Ajaz, Geologist, Zafar Jang, Programme Manager FOCUS North, Rahim Khan, President Ismaili Local Council Gulmit, Shamsher Khan, CERT Captain and Niyat Qurban, VERT Captain Ghulkin.

The team will submit a report to the Council outlining its findings and proposing strategies to coup with the situation, in the long run. However, they have advised for continuous monitoring of the glacier’s movement in order to minimize losses in the wake of future disastor.

Another flood from the Ghulkin Glacier had hit the Karakoram Highway and the Chutghust settlement of Ghulkin village on May 25. The volume of water was very high as compared to the flood on May 21. It caused huge losses to the potato and wheat fields, orchards and forest areas. KKH also remained closed for 6 hours. The local volunteers have evacuated the seasonal houses in fear of more floods.

The PT team visited the flood areas and the Ghulkin glaciers. According to the team members, the water is emanating from inside the glacier from an invisible.

Morever, seepage of water from the glacier just above the Ghulkin village has also created fear among the local community. According to local people, unlike the past, excessive water flow was observed during December, when the temperature remains in the negative range.

According to FOCUS team the water in a lake above Hussainin village has also increased to an alarming level.

Despite all these threats to the community the elected political leadership and high Government officials have not visited the area.

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  1. Anxiously, waiting to get the summary of the report: expert views of the geologist at the earliest.

  2. Natural Disaster or Manmade Disaster?
    Mawlana Hazir Imam said in his Golden Jubilee irshad that my Jamat is till living in risk areas and we have to work there where the Jamat is living.
    Its a very sad news that due to glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) agriculture land of Ghulkin village damaged at a larger area, as it was happed before a month at the same location and another in Passu, as this glacier lake was creating a huge dam above the Hussaini village with the eastern side moraine of Hussaini Glacier, for this issue the community of Hussaini informed Govt. Authorities and FOCUS proper their long channel (1 to 5), although it should be an independent organization and can do quick response in such emergency situations but nothing they did for the protection of this natural disaster, as its their tradition after disaster they visit the communities with a tent and two blankets, or if after flooding and damages they visited the area on helicopter, is that the solution of the effected area??. The government authorizes are already dead there everywhere in the northern areas and the FOCUS team is just for visiting and ignoring the risks. It’s very clear in Pakistan, as the democracy is not growing due to the dictators, and the same in FOCUS the retired dictators are running such sensitive organization for their self interest and corruption is there from the recruitment to the development projects, and where the talented university graduates will wonder for job if such retired armies get control on Jamati Institutions. Its very frustrated issues which will create very crucial situation in future if it not solved on time.

    What, where and when is the application of Remote Sensing and GIS in Disaster Management?.

    How to handle such problems, risks, hazards and disasters through RS and GIS technology, how much funds are given to such organizations to solve theses problems and where is the output of these funds? As the GLOF happened last time in Passu and Ghulkin was a great risk to these villages, with the help of RS and GIS technology these glacier’s lakes can be identified through Satellite images and Arial photographs and after field verification and ground realities the sites are observed and assessed in their early stages when these lakes are developing and through the proper way can be released that water and not let it to make a dam which than damage lives and properties in future, some glaciers are located on their local community tracking areas and people are traveling and visiting these glaciers can identify these lakes and inform such originations and Govt. authorities, but as I seen in the last three disasters, both the organizations working on disaster and Government Authorities ware helpless to do something to protect the community lives and properties. FOCUS and PND Gilgit has RS and GIS technologies to apply its application in the region for hazard mapping, land sliding, GLOF, soil erosion, glacier advancement etc, but where is their input and contribution in this regard and how much fund they are getting from donor agencies???? There was only one person Mr. sifat Mohammad a technical expert and professional sincere person who was able to handle and to decide the proper solutions to such risks, but what happened with him, he transferred to Karachi for what disaster management there, for disaster of street crime or mobile snatching? Than later gave him save exit to Dubai.
    As in the last two GLOF issues in Pamir Times, Mr. Ghulam Amin Beg suggested so many times to FOCUS and other organization to work on these risks, but nothing can be seen in the area either to survey, assessments, or research etc.

    As everyone knows about the disaster situation in Hussaini village due the glacier advancement for last many decades and no one can imagine, how much the local community are surfing from these disasters, for last many years both for drinking and irrigation water the people of Hussaini ware working on glacier 8 to 12 hours daily, no body can go out of the village for job due to this problem, glacier is located in the west and the Khunzhrav river is flowing in the East of the village but due to lake of resources there is no water in the village, and now in this time villagers are paying for both drinking and irrigation water, a drought situation for last many years as the glacier is advancing very fast toward the Khnzhrav River and KKH at distance of some 200 meters, the four channels takes form the snout of the glacier are destroyed and now the temporary solution was through pipeline from the southern glacier’s originated stream to the northern snout channels, A hard working farmer lost his life at the glacier snout, a rock from the end moraine hit him there and he passed away at the spot in august 2006, and so many injured and disabled during their duty at glacier but no one yet understand our problem either they belong to NGOs, Government Organizations or other local communities living in the region.

    The villages located along the Khunzhrav river and below the glaciers are in high risks specially in Gojal valley, Shimshal, Passu, Hussaini, Ghulkin, Gulmit and so many other villages in the region, at any time form these risks of river flood, and GLOF the villages will wash out if proper protection not taken and in this modern world where technologies can be used to reduce the risks but what we can do with these dictators in Govt. and NGOs. The communities, volunteers and scouts should ready to handle these disasters otherwise it’s a very terrible situation in our region and it’s very challenging for our youth and communities required resources. I am not wrong to say that such dictators’ involvements in these institutions are big and horrible disasters too.

    If anyone has comment or suggestion can write me openly.

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