Can Pakistan's mountain communities protect themselves against melting glaciers?

Source(s)
Dawn Media Group

By Syed Muhammad Abubakar

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The flood occurred as the iced wall of Hinarchi Glacier, which was holding a big glacial lake had burst, leading to a flood disaster. Raees’s forefathers weren’t the only affectees, as a 100 other households of the village were devastated as well. All of them had to migrate to other areas in search of livelihoods and safety.

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According to [Aisha Khan, the executive director of Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change (CSCCC)], "global warming and changes in mountain ecosystem will increase the formation of glacial lakes and exert pressure on human and natural systems. Most of these glacial lakes in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region of Pakistan were formed in the last five decades and the number of glacial lake outburst flood events is likely to increase, as new lakes are being formed and old lakes become more unstable".

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To reduce the threats posed by glacial lakes, the GLOF-I project took several initiatives in Bagrot valley, including the construction of a bridge and protective walls, and excavation of streams among others. One of the interventions of the project was the installation of four automatic weather stations, meant to relay important information on possible glacial lake outburst flood events to the meteorological department of Pakistan, which could be subsequently shared with the local communities.

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She recommends "any infrastructure that is designed as a protective measure for glacial lake outburst floods must be based on bathymetric studies conducted on a regular basis to track ice wall and thinning process”.

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