Melting Glaciers in Pakistan raise Flood Risk

Residents of the tiny village of Hassanabad noticed floodwaters quickly rising in the stream that runs near their homes, carrying water from the towering Shishper glacier, late last month.

A resident of the village Ghulam Qadir said, “The flows became so high that they eroded the land and reached 10 feet from my family’s home. We evacuated.”

The resultant flood, carrying huge boulders from the melting glacier, demolished the cherry, apricot and walnut orchards. It left homes cracked, 16 families in tents and local irrigation and hydropower systems damaged.

Qadir said, “The flood water broke all the retaining walls that were built last year in order to protect the village.”

Adding, “Now there is a ravine right next to our houses and we live in dread of another flood.”

Also read: 36% of Pakistan’s Glaciers will disappear by 2100

This area is one of the 24 valleys in the northern Pakistan that will receive warning systems, between 2018 and 2022, for glacial lake outburst floods using $37 million in funding from the Green Climate Fund.

He said, “The delay is partly due to the outbreak of Covid-19 and partly because UNDP-Pakistan would not finalize the letter of agreement signed with the Ministry of Climate Change, which would give us oversight over the hiring of staff and other matters.”

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