A Glimpse in to FOCUS’s Recent Activities:
PAKISTAN: Mitigating the potential threat of Khurdopin glacier
Khurdopin is a glacier located 3,660 metres in the Karakoram mountain range in Shimshal Valley, northern Pakistan. The increasing temperatures and precipitation can trigger glacial lake outburst floods, which could cause loss of life and damage to property. Khurdopin is in a state of ‘surge’, blocking the Shimshal River, which has resulted in the creation of a temporary lake. The situation is a threat to the communities living downstream because the length of the lake is increasing and the water inflow is blocked by the adjacent glacier – it was at around 700 metres in November, 2017 and increased to 1,500 metres in January, 2018.
Zeenat, a participant explained, “The capacity building programs at the community level have allowed us to learn about hazards and the immediate steps one needs to take as first responders. We now feel that women and children in our village are much safer than they were a few years ago.”
FOCUS’ team of experts and geologists have formed a glacier monitoring team at the community level responsible for monitoring Khurdopin glacier on a monthly basis and sharing findings with subject matter experts. To enhance the system for early warning, FOCUS installed a weather monitoring post in Shimshal Valley to closely monitor weather conditions and alert villagers to evacuate in case of an anticipated disaster.
AFGHANISTAN: Building Mitigation Projects to Improve Safety, Afghanistan
Atah Mohammad, 64 years old, has lived in the village of Bahar Bazaar in the remote mountains of Ishkashim and Badakshan, since a young child. Mohammad notes that, “in recent years, as I have grown older, the climate and nature are changing bringing more unpredictable events, especially water rising (floods)”. In 2017, FOCUS conducted a hazard vulnerability risk assessment and as a priority built a 50 metre retaining wall and conducted a mitigation project to clear the debris flow channel. These initiatives will help minimize the impact of potential hazards on villagers.