Published On: Mon, Oct 5th, 2015

Farmers in Gilgit face significant crop loss after flash floods

Tanveer Ahmed

GILGIT: Forty-five-year-old Muhammad Latif cultivated wheat crop on one Kanal of his land, which was washed away in the flash floods that hit Falfu Glacier in July this monsoon. He is now worried about managing his 9-member family, as whatever he had has been destroyed.

But Latif, resident of Mashkoli village of Bagrot valley is not the only one who’s in such a situation. Most of the villagers are facing the same fate.

The floods, as a result of climate change, as well other unusual climatic patterns have severely affected this area

The floods, as a result of climate change, as well other unusual climatic patterns have severely affected this area

Bagrot valley in the northeast is 45 kilometres from Gilgit city, and is surrounded by glaciers. Having a population of about 18,000 most of the people in Bagrot are engaged in agriculture.

The floods, as a result of climate change, as well other unusual climatic patterns have severely affected this area.

To prevent the devastating affects; the Government of Pakistan in collaboration with INGOs has initiated an early flood-warning system.

In the last three decades, melting of glaciers in the Gilgit region has risen-- Syed Zahid Hussain of GLOF project

In the last three decades, melting of glaciers in the Gilgit region has risen– Syed Zahid Hussain of GLOF project

Project Manager of Glacier-Lake Outburst Fund (GLOF) Syed Zahid Hussain says temperature is rising due to climate change, which is why glaciers are fast melting and turning into lakes.

“When lakes burst, it results in flash floods known as “Glacier Lake Outburst Flood” across the region.

GLOF carries bolder with great outflow of water and unexpected floods wash away many of the villages besides turning fertile lands barren.

Local residents of Bagrot valley are witnessing glacial lake outburst flood on regular basis.

Local residents of Bagrot valley are witnessing glacial lake outburst flood on regular basis.

Like Latif, 55-year-old Shah Hasan also lost his potato crop cultivated on two Kanal of land to July 2015 floods.

“This happened with me in August 2010 as well,” he laments. “One and a half Kanal land turned barren.”
Hasan worked hard for the last five years to restore his land cultivation but the current flood has again wiped out his all hopes.

Being a retired army officer, he is now fulfilling the needs of his 12-member family from the meagre amount he receives as pension.

Hussain of the GLOF project says there are many glaciers in Gilgit-Baltistan; hence the affect of climate change is higher in the region. In the last three decades, melting of glaciers in the area has risen, he adds.


Deputy Director Gilgit-Baltistan Environmental Protection Agency Khadim Hussain says usually snowfall began in first week of November but now it starts late December or early January.

“This snowfall is not converted into glaciers due to ill-timed out of season snowfall,” he says. “And when there is excessive temperature, it turns into flood-like situation.”

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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