CHITRAL: Lower Chitral deputy commissioner Naveed Ahmed has said the region is highly vulnerable to glacial lake outburst flood (Glof) as it is surrounded by hundreds of glaciers.

He said the glaciers could not be stopped from being exploded by human effort, but their devastation could be mitigated by making the susceptible people resilient to the disaster.

Addressing the concluding ceremony of a workshop on ‘preparedness for Glof in Chitral’ arranged by UNDP for the media persons, he said during the disaster of the type in Golen valley in July, infrastructure of roads, drinking and irrigation water supply schemes was badly affected, incurring a cumulative loss of Rs350 million.

The workshop was part of the second phase of the UNDP’s Glof project launched in August.

Mr Ahmed said the flood also damaged the 108MW Golen Gol hydropower station and it took three months to restore the generation. He said these losses could have been averted by designing the infrastructure resilient to the Glof threat.

He said the UNDP-funded project was need of the hour to create resilience among people by putting in place an early warning system, erecting safe havens and stockpiling of both food and non-food items.

He said the project should also impart training to those designing the physical infrastructure in such vulnerable valleys.

In his presentation, Met department meteorologist Manzoor Ahmed said the phenomena of rainfall and snowfall had become quite irregular and anomalous over the past many decades caused by climate change phenomenon. He said the abrupt and irregular rise and fall of atmospheric temperature triggered the outburst of glacial lakes and flash floods in the area.

MPA Maulana Hedayatur Rahman said the first phase of the Glof project had produced considerable results in Bindu Gol area in Upper Chitral where the devastation of floods was reduced due to the community’s preparedness.

He said the second phase of the project was launched after a gap of many years keeping in view the frequency of the glacial lakes outburst floods.

He suggested that the project should not be restricted to the Golen Gol valley only and should be extended to the other vulnerable villages, including Gohkir, Reshun, Sonoghur, Arkari and Sheshi Koh.

Provincial coordinator of the Glof project, Fahad Bangash and Chitral-based field officer Iqtidarul Mulk explained the salient features of the project and said it was a community-based endeavour in which the experience and knowledge of the local people was also incorporated to make these effective.

Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2019