Melting glaciers increase risk of flash floods in Gilgit

GILGIT: Melting glacier ice owing to hot weather conditions in Gilgit Baltistan has increased the risk of flash floods setting alarm bells ringing for locals.

The areas that are at risk of glacial lake bursts and subsequent flash floods due to melting glaciers include Gilgit, Hunza, Shigar, Nagar, and Ghanche.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Climate Change Amin Aslam undertook a visit to Gilgit Baltistan to review the situation. He termed melting glaciers a severe threat to the local population and issued necessary instructions to relevant authorities for tackling any such situation.

He announced to launch a Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) Safety project at the earliest to reduce the risks of flash floods. The project will be executed at a cost of Rs6 billion with funding from UNDP. Under the project, safety measures will be taken in ten districts of Gilgit Baltistan and eight districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Amin Aslam said the government will set up glacier monitoring stations at a cost of Rs3 billion with 400 additional stations to monitor flood water. A sum of Rs1.4 billion would be doled out to the local community with the project to benefit as many as one million locals.

He said glacier ice is fast melting because of climate change.  In 2015, there were only 33 hazardous glacial lakes but now the number of such lakes has risen to 133, he pointed out.

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