ISLAMABAD  -  Supra-Glacial lake formed over Shisper Glacier, in the west of Hassanabad village Hunza, needed urgent attention of concerned departments as it is posing serious threat to local population and infrastructure.

“Shisper Glacier has been surging at a normal rate whereas the supra-glacial lake formed is the matter of concern for GBDMA and other stakeholders as it is posing serious risk to local population and infrastructure”, said an official of Gilgit-Baltistan Disaster Management Authority (GBDMA).

The glacier is surging five meters to six meters per day which means it would take 2-3 months to reach to Karakoram Highway (KKH) main bridge which at the moment five kilometers far from the glacier, he told APP.

“The experts monitoring the situation, have found that a thick ice wall of 1 km has been created on the glacier. The ice wall has overruled the threatening risk of glacial lake outburst. The only damage made so far has been to an irrigated water channel near Aliabad village,” he added.

However, it depends on the weather patterns, which would affect glacial melting process and cause flooding in the area, he stated.

“The authority is waiting for the response of its letter written to Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) for isotopic study of the Shisper glacier to ascertain the melting stage of the glacier”, he said.

He further mentioned that water discharge below the surging glacier was continuing which made it difficult to determine the course of water that either it was the glacial lake’s water running or the glacial melt at the surface level.  

He informed that surging was not an issue, mitigation work was in progress which would be completed in 2-3 weeks. The population was already informed about the developing serious situation and there was enough rationing of non-food items and medicines to deal with the consequent disaster, he added.

To a query, he said that presently they have enough response time till the glacial lake burst and once latest early warning systems have been installed then they would be able to manage early and safe evacuation in case of disaster.

“During a glacial lake outburst phenomenon we have maximum 15-30 minutes response time available”, he said.