Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday ordered emergency measures to contain the damage caused by the GLOF from the Shisper Glacier in Hunza the previous day.
The Hunza bridge in Hassanabad on the Karakoram highway was washed away on Saturday by floods from the Shisper glacier. Animations on social media showed a huge wave of water sweeping across the bridge as viewers fled for safety.
The frozen lake of the Shisper ice cap also flooded homes, hundreds of agricultural canals, trees, water supply channels, and two power projects.
The floods cut off access to Hunza in the middle and at the top, leaving thousands of people, including tourists, trapped on both sides.
In a statement issued today, the prime minister instructed the authorities to ensure the safety of life and property of the people and to relocate them to safer areas.
He also instructed relief teams to deliver food, medicine, and emergency supplies to affected areas.
PM Shehbaz also asked officials to prepare another road due to the collapse of a bridge on the Karakoram highway.
The premier instructed the parties to estimate the cost of the losses resulting from the destruction of agricultural water and drinking water systems and two power plants due to flooding.
“The prime minister has ordered the rehabilitation of two power plants – 700 megawatts and 250MW – at war level,” the report added.
He also demanded a report on the damage done to the Karakoram Highway. “We will take all possible steps to fully rehabilitate and rehabilitate the affected people.”
The prime minister issued instructions to government agencies to provide full support to the Gilgit-Baltistan government.
Meanwhile, Gilgit-Baltistan Secretary-General Mohyuddin Ahmad Wani spoke to the media on Sunday about the extent of the damage.
He said the floodwaters of the Shisper Glacier were estimated at 8,000 cusecs during the eruption of the lake. “The floodwaters damaged the bridge, the Karakoram water supply and the underground cable network.”
A steel bridge is planned
Meanwhile, there are plans to build a steel bridge in Hassanabad after a concrete one collapsed yesterday.
National Highway Authority Director General Mehmoob Wali said Parhlo.com that the installation of the bridge will be completed in the next 15 to 20 days to restore the fast connection to Karakoram Highway, “while it will take six to seven months to build another concrete bridge”.
He said repairs to the affected area of Karakoram Highway will also begin tomorrow.
The Shisper glacier began to shake in May 2018, blocking the flow of water from the nearby Muchuhur glacier, which normally crosses the Hunza River in Hassananabad, thus forming an artificial lake. The water in the lake pond collects in the winter and comes out in the summer.