By: Faqir Ullah Khan
PASSU: A delegation comprising of UNDP and Government of Pakistan (GoP) officials visited Passu village in Gojal Valley of Hunza to conduct Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) risk assessment.
Members of the delegation met community members and discussed the need for GLOF risk assessment. The delegation members emphasized that by identifying the risks it would be easier to put in place mitigation measures.
The delegation included Ignacio Artaza, Resident Representative UNDP, UNDP-Pakistan team head by Babar Hayat Tarar, Additional Secretary MoCC/Ex-Chief Secretary GB, DC-Hunza Babar Sahib-ud-din and GBDMA representative. Local community members and journalists were also present during the visit.
Hon. Secretary of Village Organization Passu Hussain Ali welcomed the visitors. UNDP representatives Ibrahim and Aman Ullah explained the goals of the visit, while Passu Development Organization’s Vice-Chairman Ali Qurban briefed the delegation about the historical background of Passu.
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)’s captain Aman Ullah Khan highlighted different risk-prone glaciers that could impact the life and livelihood means of the residents of Passu. He said that GLOF risks are present in Passu Glacier, Batura Glacier, Pari Goz Glacier, Mulungwudi and Verzharave Glacier/ Khudopin Glacier. He also explained the historical impact of GLOFs, and the on-going erosion along the river-bank which deprives the residents of Passu of valuable land every year.
The delegation members also answered locals’ questions about the interrelations between GLOFs, climate change and environment degradation.
Country Head UNDP asked for the community involvement in different parts of Gilgit-Baltistan to minimize the natural disaster and GLOF impacts in the valleys. A project for GLOF risk management will be launched by UNDP, Government of Pakistan and partner organizations in coming years in Gilgit-Baltisan, he said.
The UNDP delegation members expressed their deep affiliation for the concerns of Passu Community about GLOF impact in Gojal-Hunza.