Gul Hamad Farooqui
CHITRAL: Protection walls and irrigation channels completed at different valleys which affected by Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) by GLOF II project. GLOF-II project running with financial support of United Nations Development Programme, (UNDP), construction of protective walls, community centers, irrigation canals in various parts of Lower and Upper Chitral and other parts of Dir upper and Swat has been completed. These areas would be saved from flood and other natural disasters after construction of these protection walls which constructed in Chitral and its neighbouring districts having centuries-old glaciers, on the peaks of the mountains, which often erupt in summer due to global warming, which leads to GLOF events. Due to the bursting of these avalanches by extreme heat, often without any rainfall or prior warning, catastrophic floods cause massive loss of life and property.
Under the UNDP-funded Glacial Lake Outburst Flood, GLOF II Project, in such areas where GLOF events take place, safety walls has been constructed in stormwater drains to protect local people from flooding and damage. Under GLOF-2 project, protection walls, community centers and irrigation channels were also being constructed in Madgulshat, Arkari, Reshun in Lower and Upper Chitral, Mittaltan in Swat, Mohalla Qila, Kamar Khora, Osho and Tal in Kumrat in Upper Dir districts. These irrigations channels will irrigate thousands acres of land. Due to GLOF event, a glacier bursting without any rainfall or weather conditions causes flash floods, leaving little chance for people to save their property and lives, and these unexpected floods lead to widespread destruction. Early Warning System (EWS) missionaries will also be installed in these areas in collaboration with the Meteorological Department to provide early warning system under the GLOF Two project to the people living in the valleys under the glacier. There will be connectivity through satellite phone and in case of flood the local people will be informed in advance through a signal which will alert the people nearby to move some safe places.
Rashid Khan of UNDP said that community halls and shelter homes have also been constructed in these affected areas under the GLOF Two Project, which the local people will be able to use in times of function , and children and women can also take shelter there in case of floods. Talking to our representative, the local people thanked management of the GLOF Two Project for constructing these protection walls in the flood-affected areas, due to which these areas will be saved from destruction on large scale .However, the local people demanded that there are still some more areas which are prone to flooding, even if protection walls were constructed there, the people and their livestock, besides the gardens, cultivated land and forest, will also be protected from the destruction of the flood. These people also demanded that the GLOF 2 project which will continue from 2017 to 2024 should be given more extension so that rehabilitation, safety measures and development work can be done in more affected areas under this project. Construction of irrigation canals and watercourses in flood-affected areas will provide considerable relief to the landowning people and irrigate thousands of acres of land. It is hoped that the completion of these protection walls and other rehabilitation projects at a cost of 36 million dollars under the UNDP-funded GLOF-2 project will save these people from much harm in the coming times. and will not be forced to migrate. It is worth to mention here that due to the floods in the past years, people who have no other shelter apart from their damaged house have become homeless. A historic mosque in the Kumrat valley area was also saved from the expected flood under the GLOF Two project, which is 400 years old and was under severe threat from the river passing near it. By constructing protection walls in this river, this centuries-old national asset will now be protected from destruction by flood.