Glacial lake outburst causes widespread flooding in Chitral’s Golen valley

K-P disaster management authority says no loss of life has been reported so far

Our Correspondent July 08, 2019
K-P disaster management authority says no loss of life has been reported so far. PHOTO: FILE

CHITRAL: Flood hit several villages in Golen Gol area of Chitral district on Monday after a glacial lake burst its banks overnight, toppling electricity poles and inundating roads and farmlands, officials from the Rescue 1122 and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said.

The glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) occurred after the Jam Ashpar glacier – a favourite destination of the tourists to Chitral – exploded overnight. Because of the flood, five bridges and the Azghor valley road were washed away.

Several tourists to the area were also stranded, including Prime Minister Imran Khan's sister, Aleema Khan. Riaz Mehsood, the Malakand Commissioner, said that Aleema Khan is safe and that steps were being taken to evacuate the tourists.

The PDMA as well as the district administration have confirmed that there was no loss of life in the flooding. “At least three houses and three shops were damaged but there is no loss of life,” a PDMA official said. Cattle on the some summer pastures could be affected, he added.

Alamgir Khan, the assistant commissioner of Chitral said that Golen valley is disconnected from the rest of the areas as there was no road access, while the electricity was also disconnected because of damage to 108 megawatts Golen hydel power station.

“The affected area is remote and not easy to access through road, therefore, it is difficult to clearly figure out the situation,” a rescue official said, adding, however: “The local people have moved to safe places.”

A National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) official from Islamabad said that water level in the areas was receding gradually and the authority had sent medicines, non-food items and doctors for the rehabilitation of the affected population.

This was the first GLOF since 2015, when a similar incident killed at least three people and caused extensive damage to property and infrastructure and affected more than a quarter of a million in Chitral.

The incident happened as tourists flocked the scenic district in the Hindukush mountain range for the famous Shandur Polo Festival. The Malakand Commissioner said that link-road of two villages were affected because of GLOF but tourists can reach the venue of polo festival without any disruption.


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