Panic looms over Gojal area after glacier burst

15 June 2008
The Dawn

Gilgit: The third outburst of a glacier within two months in Gulkin valley of Gojal, upper Hunza, has caused widespread panic among the inhabitants. Huge boulders that blocked Karakuram Highway were cleared to restore traffic but the mudflow from the lake disrupted telecommunication besides damaging water channels of the village, a spokesman for Northern Areas administration said. The residents have been shifted to safe areas temporarily as two houses were damaged partially due to the mudflow, Sardar Mohammad Abbas, the director general of Northern Areas Disaster Management Authority, told this correspondent. The mudflows from the glacier badly affected the irrigation system of Gulkin village and people were concerned about the standing corps in the fields. They feared that if measures were not taken on an emergency basis, they might suffer huge losses. There were reports of damages to orchards and potato crops. But the villagers were frightened of another big catastrophe fearing a burst in upper glaciers. Deputy Commissioner Gilgit Mohammad Usman Younus visited the affected part of Gulkin and ordered the field revenue staff for immediate estimation of the losses to inform the higher authorities for compensation. “We are not satisfied with such visits which were also paid by his predecessors during the previous years,”