Published On: Tue, Sep 29th, 2015

Flash floods uproot trees, destroy infrastructure in Gilgit-Baltistan

Qasim Shah

GILGIT: With great efforts, forefathers of Qamber Ali had planted fruit trees in their agricultural field, which are now no more because of being washed away by flash floods.

Ali is a resident of Sher Qilla village, which is about 30kms from Gilgit, the provincial capital of Gilgit- Baltistan. It has a population of about 1200. Forests in Gilgit cover an area of 950,000 hectares.

Deforestation also continues in the area as wood is used for fuel and also to earn a living

Deforestation also continues in the area as wood is used for fuel and also to earn a living

He tells The Nature News that around six Kanal of agriculture land was washed away in July 2015 floods. This piece of land was used to provide livelihood to the family, besides provision of fodder to the cattle throughout the year.

“Not only the agricultural lands of many families were washed away in this flood but also five houses and cattle were destroyed,” he says. “Two water channels meant for irrigation of the area were also ruined. The people of the area on self-help basis were working for the rehabilitation of these projects.”

Deputy Director of Gilgit-Baltistan Environmental Agency Khadim Hussain says change in weather conditions in the area is due to climate change.

“Due to irregular snowfall pattern, it fails to convert into glacier, and when there’s an increase in temperature, the snow melts resulting in flash floods,” he says.

Deputy Director of Gilgit-Baltistan Environmental Agency Khadim Hussain says change in weather conditions in the area is due to climate change.

Deputy Director of Gilgit-Baltistan Environmental Agency Khadim Hussain says change in weather conditions in the area is due to climate change.

Deforestation also continues in the area as wood is used for fuel and also to earn a living. Cutting of trees has in turn adversely affected the climate.
To reduce the impact of climate change, Hussain suggests initiating sustainable alternative energy projects, such as solar and wind energy. All previous projects were stalled because of frequent disasters in the region.

This article has been published in arrangement with NCEJ as part of its training in Gilgit on “Reporting impacts of climate change on communities”

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  1. Helga Ahmad says:

    There is no mention of planting shrubs and tree saplings, so important in this region for fuel wood.. It also would protect the lands from being washed away by flash floods

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