by: Zulfiqar Ali Khan
Hunza, June 16: District Commissioner Gilgit, Muhammad Usman Younis and Assistant Commissioner Hunza, Soqrat Aman Rana have visited the Ghulkin village to distribute relief goods among the people affected from the glacier lake outburst floods. The relief goods comprised of 3 tents, 100 kgs each of rice, sugar and cooking oil.
A large number of community members and other notables were also present at the occasion. The relief goods were handed over to village committee for further distribution. The local community has demanded for compensation of the actual losses rather than disribution of token goods to the affected families.
Secretary, Ismaili Local Council Gulmit, Fazal Karim briefed the authorities regarding the damages caused by GLOFs on May 22, May 24 and June 14. He said that about 20 families have lost majority of their cultivable land, houses, cattle sheds, orchards and forest trees and almost 6,500 inhabitants of Ghulkin, Hussainin and Borith villages are still prone to the geological processes taking place in Ghulkin and Passu glaciers.
Aziz Jan, Chairman Union Council Gulmit in his apeech appealed to the Federal Governemnt to rehabilitate the affected families and mitigate the losses. He has demanded from the local administration to conduct a scientific study about the movement of glaciers in the region in order to devise a comprehensive strategy to avoid any disaster in the region.
District Commissioner Gilgit, responding, said that there is no permanent fund to immediately respond to natural calamities. He, however, said that disaster management plans have been developed at district level and will be implemented after approval from relevant authorities. He said that reports have been submitted to National Disaster Management Authority for further action.
The local community has shown concern over lake of interest from Government to conduct risk assessment survey in order to develop disaster management strategy for the disaster prone villages surrounding the Ghulkin and Passu glaciers. District Commissioner repliled that a professional from UNDP has already visited Ghulkin and Passu glacier sites in order to make a risk assessment for the surrounding villages.
Amber Masud, Project support officer of Regional GLOF Risk Reduction Initiative –UNDP has told PT on telephone that Passu and Ghulkin glaciers have been selected as project sites during April however, the project has not yet started its activities in the region. She said that UNDP will implement this project in collaboration with National Disaster Management Authority and FOCUS Humanitarian in coming days.
Zulfiqar Ali Khan’s report for Daily DAWN