Day 16: ‘It wasn’t a slide, it was a glacier’

Published: April 24, 2012

Despite the adverse weather conditions, pace of rescue work remained unaffected. PHOTO: ISPR

ISLAMABAD: 

As military personnel and volunteers work round the clock on the extensive rescue operation at the Giari Sector in Siachen, a total of 1.73 million cubic feet area has been shifted since the avalanche engulfed the Battalion Headquarters (HQ’s).

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a high ranking military official assigned to administer the rescue and search operation in Gayari sector, said that the tragic incident on April 7 was not merely an avalanche, it was a huge upper part of a glacier which displaced and came down on the headquarter situated at the base.

The official added that keeping in view the overwhelming sentimental conditions of the families of the victims, the military officials are trying hard not to share the ground realities with them.

Speaking about the operation, he said , “we are getting closer to the structure; there are fair chances now to find bodies even outside of the HQ’s building as most of the military men, might have tried to get.”

Operation Update

According to an update issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), despite cold weather hindering the operation, frequently causing equipment to breakdown, all efforts were being made to extract the trapped soldiers and civilians.

The platforms, constructed on all sites, have been consolidated, however excavation work is being focused on expansion of the sites. The Ground-penetrating radar teams have identified two more points.

Meanwhile the Norwegian team, after providing necessary assistance has arrived in Islamabad and will be departing for Norway on Tuesday.

 

Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2012.

Reader Comments (4)

  • Not me
    Apr 24, 2012 - 8:46AM

    It was a massive landslide.

    Such tragic events should nudge India and Pakistan towards discussions on how the military presence might be mutually and verifiably reduced, for reasons evident to all. My heart and prayers go out to those killed; who were only doing their duty

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  • Apr 24, 2012 - 9:01AM

    huge what??editors asleep??

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  • Darjat
    Apr 24, 2012 - 7:43PM

    I wonder if a hazard mapping in those mountainous parts of the world is part of GBDMA or other organization’s responsibility! The size and scale of the disasters at Giari are unusual of the recent past in those mountainous areas.

    This year’s weather conditions during the April is also different-snow melting used to be incremental but this year it seems that any few good sunny days in the coming weeks may result in more avalanches, mud-flow and even glacier outbursts.

    Research- assessment, mitigation and preparedness are missing link in our part of the world. The GB government with the support of federal government need is hire international experts on glaciers and team up credible people who have lived, worked in those locations to assess the natural environment hazards- above the settlement. This will help in putting mitigation measures to avoid such losses in the future.

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  • M. B. F. H
    Apr 28, 2012 - 4:41AM

    Watch-out! You guys are cutting the "tree trunk" of the glacier. Must now set-up laser alarm system for even a minute change in the glacier's downward movement to save the lives of these workers. Tool: A laser pointer reflecting off of a mirror__ one is attached on the lowest edge of sliding glacier the other at a stable rock out of the way, with locked distance set with blaring alarm. It can be fabricated at the military or air force lab if not purchased yet.

    Same method should have been used for past glacier movement. Weather hinderence can be overcome with installation of GPS satellite navigation system on moving and stationary objects. Just an idea, reality on the ground could be challenging I know. Recommend

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