PESHAWAR   -  In order to mitigate risk of glacial lake bursting and flooding following surge in temperature in northern parts of the country, the governments of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan Sunday agreed to work on the issue and launch Glacial Lake Outburst Flooding (GLOF-II) project soon.

Due to rising temperature, glacial lakes in the country’s northern mountain ranges - the Hindu Kush, Himalayas and Karakorum - are melting rapidly, putting at stake lives of about 7.1 million people in the region.

Presently, a total of 3,044 glacial lakes have developed in KP and GB.

Of these, 33 glacial lakes have been assessed to be prone to hazardous Glacial Lake Outburst Flooding.

In this connection, a high-level official delegation of the KP government consisting of officials from provincial Planning and Development, PDMA, Relief, Environment, Irrigation, Forest and Climate Change departments visited GB in collaboration with the UNDP Pakistan.

The delegation was told about the success of Glacial Lake Outburst Flooding as well as various projects completed so as to lessen threats to locals.

Moreover, it was also discussed that GOLF-II project for the KP and GB would be launched by spending Rs4 billion in collaboration with UNDP Pakistan soon. The GOLF-II project would be launched in 15 districts of the KP and GB.

Glacial Lake Outburst Flooding are sudden events which can release millions of cubic metres of water and debris, leading to loss of lives, property and livelihoods among remote and impoverished mountain communities.

Over 7.1 million people in GB and KP are vulnerable. In these areas, 26.7 percent and 22 percent of the population, respectively, are below the poverty line.

The scaling-up of Glacial Lake Outburst Flooding risk reduction in Northern Pakistan is a continuation of the four-year Reducing Risks and Vulnerabilities from GLOF in Northern Pakistan (GLOF-I) project. GLOF-I helped vulnerable communities prepare for and mitigate GLOF risks through early warning systems, enhanced infrastructure and community-based disaster risk management.

Officials said that GLOF-II will scale up GLOF-I from its original two districts (one each in KP and GB) to cover 15 districts, benefiting 29 million people or 15 percent of the population of Pakistan.

They went on to say that expected results by the end of the project would lessen GLOF risks, while in target communities, 95 percent of households would be able to receive and respond to early warnings and take appropriate action.

Moreover, at least 250 small-scale engineering structures would be established to reduce the effects of GLOF events on livelihoods such as tree plantation, controlled drainage and mini dams.

They said that around 50 weather monitoring stations would be setup to collect meteorological data in catchment areas and 408 river discharge sensors to collect river flood data.

This data will inform hydrological modelling and help develop village hazard watch groups.

To improve food security and reduce flood risks due to deforestation and inefficient water use, 65,000 women will be trained in home gardening, 240 water-efficient farming technologies will be installed, besides 35,000 hectares of land will be reforested, they concluded.