GILGIT: Persistent heatwaves across Gilgit-Baltistan have escalated glacial melting, leading to increased water levels in rivers and streams, flash floods and landslides.

GB Chief Minister Khalid Khu­rshid Khan and Chief Secretary Mohyuddin Ahmed Wani directed the GB Disaster Management Authority (GBDMA), all deputy commissioners of the 10 districts, relevant organisations and officials to keep a vigilant eye on the situation and be prepared in case of emergencies, according to a press release issued on Sunday.

Mr Khan has directed the administration, departments and agencies to remain alert in view of possible flooding in the rivers and streams due to the melting of glaciers after intense heatwaves in Gilgit-Baltistan and ensure electricity and water supply to the citizens.

Meanwhile, according to a letter sent by GBDMA Director Kam­a­l­u­ddin Qamar to 10 deputy commissioners of the region, GB Chief Secretary Mohyuddin Ahmed directed the officials to ensure the vigilance of vulnerable points and monitoring of potential flood-prone rivers and streams.

Referring to a glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) alert recently issued by the Pakistan Meteoro­logical Department, the letter said that due to a persistent rise in temperature and unexpected rainfall, the water level in rivers and nullahs has increased abruptly.

As a result, there is a high chance of GLOF events, flash floods, landslides, mudslides and gusty winds, the letter warned. It said the abrupt increase in temperature would accelerate the melting of glaciers and snow across GB.

Meanwhile, the Juglot-Skardu Road has been blocked at multiple locations in the Roundu area of Skardu. Skardu’s deputy commissioner said on Twitter the FWO was wor­king to clear the road. How­ever, more slides at Tormik had damaged FWO’s machinery. Ther­e­fore, it might take two more days to clear the road.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2022

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