Gilgit - Baltistan

Regional GLOFs, Risk reduction in the Himalayas initiative, April updates

by: Amber Masud

The Regional GLOF Risk Reduction Project, funded by DIPECHO and UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR), aims to address the risks posed by GLOFs in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region comprising India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan through strengthening non-structural and community-based approaches.  The project has carried out a number of activities in Pakistan during April as below:

The Regional GLOF Risk Reduction Initiative has been explained to Environment/DM Unit Heads in UNDP as also to key Government counterparts.

  • The national level stakeholders have been identified and interactions are being held to explain the project components and secure their participation/association with the activities/interactions envisaged. A formal communication has also been addressed to national government introducing the project and explaining its rationale, activities and outcomes. The key stakeholders identified are: National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA),  DM Authority of Northern Areas, Home Department, Government of Northern Areas,  Environment Protection Agency, Northern Areas,  National Agriculture Research Centre, Water Resources Research Institute, Planning Commission Pakistan,  Ministry of Environment, Global Change Impact Study Center,  WWF-Pakistan, Karakoram University (Department of Earth Sciences and Geology),  LEAD Pakistan, IUCN-Pakistan,  Pakistan Red Crescent Society;
  • Interactions are being held with NDMA for posting the project on their website along with posting it on UNDP Pakistan website and on other knowledge networks in the country and for eliciting their responses/ inputs with regard thereto.
  • The Project Support Officer (Pakistan) is visiting the Northern Areas to interact with the local government officials, communities and technical/academic institutions in the region to gather information about the past GLOF/flash flood events; the risk mitigation and preparedness measures adopted etc. and to assess community awareness and preparedness for meeting future challenges from similar events. The Project will also be shared with key stakeholders.
  • Two glaciers (Ghulkin and Passu) have been identified in the Hunza River Basin (Gilgit district) for the Baseline Study, in consultation with the government of Northern Areas and the local communities.
  • The national-level stakeholder consultation meeting proposed during June.

Detailed report attached in MS-word format:


(The contributor is Project Support Officer, Regional GLOF Risk Reduction Initiative – Pakistan, UNDP)


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  1. Thanks to Amber Masud (Project Support Officer, Regional GLOF Risk Reduction Initiative – Pakistan, UNDP) and other stakeholders for the intiatives in future to give awarness and protection for the local community.

    Recently we observed with apprehension the glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF), last time in Passu and, now, the 3rd time in Ghulkin. The floods caused by these GLOF poses a great risk to these villages. The risks, however, can be minimized by employing technology. With the help of RS and GIS technology these glacial lakes can be identified through Satellite images and Aerial photographs and after field verification and ground realities the sites can be observed and assessed in their early stages when these lakes are developing. Using proper techniques the water can be released, not allowing the formation of dams which have the potential to annihilate human settlements and agricultural establishments.

    UNDP, FOCUS and PND (NAPWD Gilgit) have RS and GIS technologies which can be utilized in the region for the purpose of hazard mapping, land sliding, GLOF, soil erosion, glacier advancement etc,

    Some glaciers are located within the vicinities of the villages and people, routinely, walk by or across them for one or the other reason. The people need to be vigilant and, shall, look for any unusual changes taking place in the glaciers. The changes, as and when observed, shall be communicated immediately to the relevant public and non – governmental organizations.

    RS and GIS technologies which can be utilized in the region for the purpose of hazard mapping, land sliding, GLOF, soil erosion, glacier advancement etc,

    The area should be observed after February when the glaciers start melting and due to fluctuation and movement the streams blocked the natural gullies and make glacial lakes, it required 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 on daily basis.

    A 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. It is an example of criminal neglect. A drought like situation hovers on the village for last many years. As the glacier is advancing very fast toward the Khnzhrav River and KKH – located at a distance of some 254 meters, the four channels dug out from the snout of the glacier have been destroyed and now the temporary solution was obtaining insufficient water through a vulnerable pipeline from the southern glacier’s originated stream to the northern snout channels. This pipeline was also washed away by the recent flood and next so many GLOFs are, again, in an alarming position about we are now aware in Gulmit, Hussaini-Ghulkin, Passu and Batura Glacier.

    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 has yet understand our problem either they belong to NGOs, Government Organizations.

    Through the platform of Hussaini Organization for Local Development (HOLD) I appeal Government, UNDP, FOCUS and to the concern NGOs and Government organizations to give attention and take some steps to solve these community problems, where now drought situation in Borith and Hussaini village.

    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 these risks. 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.

    Location Map (Set image) of the effected area and the graph of the Hussaini-Ghulkin glacier snout position from 1880-2000.

    Ali Rehmat Musofer
    GIS Unit – UNMIT
    Dili, East Timor

  2. Dear Amber Masud, thank you for the project and your comments and detailed notes on Pamir times. As the whole areas along Hunza river are prone to a variety of natural hazards especially to glacial lake outburst floods and river erosion, an affirmative action is needed to coupe with these situations by a continuous risk assessment and undertakes an integrated multi –hazard vulnerability and risk mapping to provide rational measures. In this regard the community will definitely support in establishing a center for multi hazard risk assessment and mapping.

    Azam Tajik

  3. I am a staff writer for a development research monthly, NGO World. I would like to write about this project in our magazine. This is a great initiative as there is limited research carried out on glaciers and other environment related factors in the country. It would be great if this study could sketch a picture of the rate at which glaciers are melting. Do check out our June issue of NGO World as it has featured climate change extensively in our Special report section which was focused on Environment.

  4. Maleeha, that is a nice contribution to this thread. Can you please give the links so that we are able to access such valuable materials.

  5. I fully support to Sultan Bahi, and request Maleeha to share the link of the relevant NGO for further information and exploration.

    Sharif Khan

  6. A request to Mr. Ali Musofer is to please correct the name of the glacier which he is repeatedly using. I wonder how can a single glacier have three names: in a newspaper I read it as “Hasni Glacier” (the spelling was written wrong for Hussaini), Mr. Musofer has a different name “Hussaini-Ghulkin Glacier” and Mr. Amber Masud calls it “Ghulkin Glacier” (I also call it Ghulkin Glacier). Is there any other name? Which one is correct?

    Well, now if the government decides to compensate the affectees or if any research is going on, they must need a single name because the GLOF has affected a single place for the time being. Of course, the name matters a lot in correct reporting of any issue. As, narrated by Mr. Sharif Khan there was a blunder in reporting. Anyhow, sorry for pointing out this mistake but I think it I had to do that because there is the need of it. These small things do matter(e.g. in reporting, etc.).


  7. I’m very impressed that Alyan has a giant rather lion’s heart who always distributes his wealth of love to all without any stigyness and discrimination. Alayan! When God has blessed you with such big heart full of love, then why do you become stingy and allergy with regard to the name of the glacier? Please be generous, if it is appropriate.

    The prime issue here before us is not naming the glacier (which is a human-based phenomenon)but rather the strong and severe conern is over the GLOF (which is the Nature-based). So,we need to focus more on the Nature=based issue in order to come up with precise scientific studies, knowledge & experiences in order to discover the Laws of Nature in glaciology. Thus, accordingly effective strategies need to be made against those prospective disaster risks, risk manamgement and communal preparedness.

    If still you’re very interested to know about the name of this glacier, I would request you (if you’re a humble student/true professional) to please ask your elders from different villages in objecive manner witout any subjective / politicized mind; and you will certainly get the native name of this glacier called commonly as “Yaz Yupk” at least among the natives from Shishkat to Passu apart from other peoples of Gojal.

    The name as “Ghulkin Glacier” seems the recent phenomenon after 1985 when few tourist gudies from Ghulkin started advertising it (by any reason) to the foreign tourists; and the tourists then started writing and advertising it as Ghulkin Glacier. But among the natives it is still prevalent as “Sisuni e Yaz” (Sisuni Glacier), if am not wrong.

    So holds true to the “Gulmit Glacier”, which is the recent phenonomenon advertised to the tourists and came into the maps or other literatures. Originally and and natively still it is called as “Kumaris e Yaz” (Kumaris Glacier).

    Once again, I must emphasize that the glacier name is not the prime issue before us, rather spontaneously the natural consequences of this glacier has trapped our minds that how to cope with these disasters. Thanks God that so far there is no human loss. I would appologize, if someone has hurt.

  8. Dear Kheryan, Alyan

    Yah you are right there are different names for a glacier, its Ghulkin glacier for you and Hussaini glacier for me. And it’s another name also can ask anyone in Gojal, from Shimshkat to Zuwudkhon, what they are calling it locally to this glacier.
    The whole village is depending on this glacier, It is the only source of water supply for irrigation and also for drinking, locally known as “Sisuni Yaz”, but with an error or otherwise, this glacier is shown and advertised on the maps by Ghulkin glacier. The glacier wash out area from the old to the new China bridge is called “Sisuni Yaz Yopk”. As Passu glacier is called due to the village name because it irrigate the Passu village. If you have the property certificate of the glaciers issued by your mir, than we can not claim, but overall in Hunza-Gojal it’s known with Hussaini village.

  9. Mr. Haqiqat (Late) has a big contribution regarding tourism, tourist points and to our mother tongues (Wakhi). So let’s check his dictionary that will be helpful for us. There is no need to discuss such things …I think.
    Lupyor Ali Musofer and lol Alyan cool down.

  10. Respected Mamo Ali Musofer and Musofir-e-Dunyo,

    Before getting stingy again, I would like to add “LVE” in the beginning to create a friendly environment. I never intended to be stingy respected elders. Please call me a stingy student rather than a humble one because I have got a bad habit of making people furious through my stingy comments.

    Respected elders, I had a bad reputation of criticizing at things and I criticized so many notables as I remember. Well, now coming to the real essence –the stingy names of a stingy glacier. There is one thing common between me and the glacier –both are stingy. Well, the glacier had stung the victims of GLOF and I am stinging my close relatives –my gran’s family (my ‘poopins’ in ma close neighbor village, Hussaini) and my uncle (Mamu), Ali Musofer.

    I am the creation of after 1985 and after I got conscience, I had heard the name of the glacier as I narrated before. Now, I don’t know whether I was wrongfully narrated by my family or elders or there is any another reason. If I am wrong then I am sorry and ask for forgiveness from ma respected elders. Similarly, now if I listen four names of a single glacier (Yazyopk is a new one) then what is wrong in questioning about it? Anybody can think about it and be confused. How can I be a stingy lad, if and only, I wanted to remove my confusion? I go for ‘PEACE’ and “LVE” and I don’t want any politics run in our blood. How can the followers of Imam-uz-Zaman go for politics and stinginess among each other of spiritual souls? He is urging us to create bridges with the outside worlds and how can I be stingy enough to harm my own spiritual brothers and sisters.

    I am not politicizing things and creating rifts among the villages. If you can please go through my comments with a more eager eye, you may not find that much hatred as you narrated. I just needed one name and I think I clearly defined my justifications to the best of my knowledge. The true and justified name has to stay on whether I agree with it or not. I don’t say and claim that the name I narrated is right; I just jotted, “I also call it Ghulkin Glacier”. I didn’t say I claimed at it, and well, I asked you for the correction because I had always known the name differently from you did. There is nothing unlogical of what I said. Well, I even will not blame you for that. No one is to be blamed, if we want ‘LVE’ and ‘PEACE’. If you wanna blame; ‘You can put the blame on me.’

    A CSY LVE


  11. Dear All, thankyou for all the comments, please kindly send any information to me on my email address. I would specially like to thank malihah for her contribution, we would surely want to have the project information on the NGO World, kindly contact me on the given email address.
    Many thanks, your inputs are very important for us.

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