Heat-induced glacier melting puts G-B at risk

Met Dept issues alert, warns of potential flooding in rivers

Our Correspondent May 24, 2024


As temperatures soar and much of the nation sweats it out under scorching heat, the Meteorological Department has sounded the alarm, warning of potential flooding in rivers and streams due to thawing glaciers.

The alert highlighted the looming threat of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) and sudden flash floods in Gilgit-Baltistan and surrounding low-lying areas.

All pertinent authorities have been urged to brace for the impact and implement preventive measures to stave off the potential deluge.

The development comes as the residents in Gilgit-Baltistan have already been "put on notice" about the imminent risk of GLOF events and flash floods this week.

Read more: GLOF alert issued for Hassanabad, Hunza

Pakistan is home to over 7,000 glaciers, one of the highest totals for any country on Earth.

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), by 2018, more than 3,000 lakes had formed from melting glaciers in Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Thirty-three of these lakes are considered at risk of flooding, posing a serious threat to over 7 million people living downstream.

In 2022, the country experienced unprecedented flooding and unexpected monsoon rainfall, submerging one-third of the nation and claiming the lives of 1,700 people.

Pakistan estimates that the floods affected more than 33 million people, primarily in the Sindh and Balochistan provinces.


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