Govt yet to start work on Glacial Lake Outburst Flood project | Pakistan Today

Govt yet to start work on Glacial Lake Outburst Flood project

–Ministry of Climate Change fails to scale up GLOF-I due to inter-departmental issues

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) has failed to start work on the Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) project due to inter-departmental issues as funding for the country’s community-based disaster risk management may cease due to such problems.

Sources told that Green Climate Fund (GCF), a global funding organisation, had approved $37 million funding for the GLOF project despite the Indian opposition and a sum of $10 million was released in October last year; however, owing to communication issues between the federal departments, the ministry did not start the project.

The GCF has also written a letter to MoCC asking the project status as if the government fails to start work on it then they might cancel the funding, sources added.

The documents stated that GLOF-II in Northern Pakistan is a continuation of the four-year ‘Reducing Risks and Vulnerabilities from GLOF in Northern Pakistan’ (GLOF-I) project.

GLOF are sudden events which can release millions of cubic metres of water and debris, leading to the loss of lives, property and livelihoods among remote and impoverished mountain communities. Over 7.1 million people in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) are vulnerable.

The GLOF-I helped vulnerable communities prepare for and mitigate GLOF risks through early warning systems, enhanced infrastructure and community-based disaster risk management.

Under this project, the Ministry of Climate Change with other departments reviewed and/or revised at least two policies to address or incorporate GLOF risk reduction.

In addition to this, the project will scale up GLOF-I from its original two districts (one each in KP and GB) to cover 15 districts, benefiting 29 million people or 15 per cent of the population of Pakistan and 95 per cent of households able to receive and respond to early warnings and take the appropriate action.

Moreover, at least 250 small-scale engineering structures will have to establish to reduce the effects of GLOF events on livelihoods, such as tree plantation, controlled drainage and mini-dams.

Besides this, fifty weather monitoring stations and 408 river discharge sensors also established to collect meteorological data in catchment areas as well as river flood data. This data will inform hydrological modelling and help develop village hazard watch groups.

Apart from this, this project will improve food security and reduce flood risks due to deforestation and inefficient water use, 65,000 women will be trained in home gardening, 240 water-efficient farming technologies will be installed and 35,000 hectares of land will be reforested.

It is pertinent to mention here that Glaciers in Pakistan’s northern mountain ranges (the Hindu Kush, Himalayas and Karakorum) are melting rapidly due to rising temperatures, and a total of 3,044 glacial lakes have developed in GB and KP. Of these, 33 glacial lakes have been assessed to be prone to hazardous glacial lake outburst flooding.

Additional Secretary In-charge Hassan Nasir Jamy told Pakistan Today that there are some issues between the ministries on this project and a steering committee meeting would be held in upcoming days to resolve the matter.

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