Heatwave causes glacier to melt, creates artificial lake in Gilgit

GILGIT: A small glacier melt has swollen Barsuwat Nullah in the Ishkoman valley of Ghizer district, Gilgit-Baltistan, creating an artificial lake and blocking the flow of the Immit River.

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The water has submerged more than 30 houses, cultivated land, a link road and cattle farms and washed away over a dozen vehicles and hundreds of cattle head in the upstream areas.

The Barsuwat area lies at a distance of 60km from Gahkuch, the district headquarters of Ghizer district. The Ishkoman valley is situated near the Pakistan- Afghanistan border area.

Deputy Commissioner of Ghizer Shuja Alam said that the Barsuwat glacier started melting on Tuesday at about 7pm. Water from the melting glacier, containing mud and stones, fell into Barsuwat Nullah and caused flooding. The nullah ultimately falls into the Immit River whose flow has been blocked and the stagnant water has created an artificial lake similar to Attabad Hunza lake, disconnecting upstream villages from other areas.

The Immit River finally joins the River Indus in the Gilgit area.

According to the DC, an area spread over about 2km has been flooded and around 10 small villages including Barsuwat, Berth, Yazbeen and Qarandan, consisting of 180 households (600 individuals), have been completely cut off from other areas.

The road link to the upstream areas has been cut off at Bilhanz as around 150-meter section of the road has been washed away.

Mr Alam said around 31 houses (24 upstream and 7 downstream) had been affected and the families living in these houses shifted to safe locations.

Hundreds of kanals of cultivated land have been submerged and crops damaged.

The DC said the details of the impact of the disaster would appear only after assessment of the damage.

Originally Published at Dawn

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