by Zulfiqar Ali Khan
HUNZA, April 24: The rise in temperature coupled with glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) from the Ghulkin-Hussaini glacier have increased the water inflow in the lake formed on Hunza River due to the devastating landslide of Jan 4 at Atabad Hunza.
According to experts, the daily water inflow in the lake spreading over 13km has reached to 2,500 cusecs with a daily water level with an average of 2.5 feet. The level of the lake has crossed 289 feet at the barrier point.
According to officials, the lake has already submerged about 64 houses, two community centres one primary school, more than 16,000 kanal of cultivable and non-cultivable land and thousands of trees in Ayeenabad and Shishkat and inching towards the Gojal Tehsil’s headquarter and largest settlement, Gulmit. The lake after submerging the largest bridge on KKH has now started inundating the pillars of the under-construction bridge.
The Shishkat settlement has totally cut off from Gulmit and other areas after the devouring of the temporary wooden bridge. Due to the inundation of the KKH at two points, the remaining part of Ayeenabad settlement has been evacuated.
According to reports, the commercial area in Gulmit along with 12 houses is also under threat.
There seems to be no sign of immediate release of the lake water even after completion of 112 days of the devastating landslide. According to Focus Humanitarian Assistance experts, more than 80 feet of free board area are still to be excavated to release water. The overflow of water could take more than a month but the chance of Lake Outburst is also increasing with the passage of time due to the loose structure of the debris, an official said on condition of anonymity.
Focus, Pakistan Red Crescent Society and local government have started scattered relief operations in Shishkat. People living in two school camps have complained of poor management and demanded deployment of a high government official in the Tehsil to effectively deal with the situation. [DAWN]